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Passengers in Police Vehicles

Dated: 7 November 2022

POLICY TITLE: Passengers in Police Vehicles

OWNING DIRECTORATE: Force Coordination and Operations

AUTHOR: Chief Inspector, Tactical Operations



AIM OF POLICY: To provide clarification regarding the carriage of passengers in police vehicles.

BENEFIT OF POLICY: Protection of police officers, police staff and members of the public.

REASON FOR POLICY: Northumbria Police acknowledges its duty to protect life in accordance with Article 2 of the Human Rights Act 1998.

Use of Police Vehicles

Police vehicles will only be used in connection with authorised police duty.

All Passengers

Northumbria Police recognises particular risks may be presented when single-crewed officers or police staff carry unaccompanied passengers. A dynamic assessment should be undertaken encompassing all the risk factors including the vulnerability of both the passenger and the single-crewed officer or police staff member, and the risks associated with awaiting the arrival of a colleague or other third person to act as chaperone.

Officers should consider the use of body worn video or other in car recording during all journeys when a passenger is being carried.

Telematics no longer require the need for vehicle logbooks. As a result, officers should take steps to record and retain the details of any passenger being carried. These could include a pocket notebook, custody record, incident log or other record. 


Northumbria Police acknowledges its duty to protect life in accordance with Article 2 of the Human Rights Act 1998.

In recognition of this, although any constable travelling in a vehicle being used for police purposes is not required by law to wear a seatbelt, all Northumbria Police personnel are required to protect themselves by wearing seatbelts at all times, except where they risk assess that doing so on a particular journey would expose them, or others, to some greater danger.

All Northumbria Police personnel will, where practicable, enforce detainees wearing seatbelts if fitted and will require other passengers in police vehicles to wear seatbelts as a condition of being transported in the vehicle.

Detained Persons

The transportation of detainees is subject of a separate Force procedure.  

Child Passengers  

It is not practical to make a full range of child safety equipment available (such as booster cushions and restraints) for use in operational police vehicles. Before transporting a child passenger, the driver will consider whether there are alternatives which may be safer, for example social services or relatives that may be able to assist, and whether it is safer to transport the child or to make other arrangements for the child's safety. Where there is no practical alternative to the child being carried in police transport, the child will sit in the rear and should if safe wear a seatbelt. Once at a place of safety other arrangements will be made for further transport. Police vehicles will not be used under any circumstances.  

People who are stranded or in danger  

If a member of the public is in a position considered vulnerable by a police officer (taking into account all relevant circumstances including location, time of day, likely threat to the person, any representations by them and the duty of the police to protect life), the officer will offer assistance in moving the individual to a safer location.  

Further assistance will normally only involve helping to arrange transport at the person's own expense, e.g. by calling a relative, friend or taxi.  

Where this is not possible, the officer will offer transport to a police station or other suitable safe place nearby, where other arrangements can be made. When this is necessary the Communications Centre will first be informed and a note made in the vehicle logbook. Only in exceptional circumstances, and with the authority of a supervisor, will a person be taken home by police.  

A vulnerable person should not be left alone in an isolated location, especially at night, unless the person declines all assistance, and is deemed to have mental capacity.  

People who require medical attention

Whilst police vehicles should not be routinely used to transport people requiring medical attention, it is accepted that there will be occasions when transporting such individuals in police vehicles may be the most appropriate way for officers to deal with an incident. The medical needs and welfare of the individual being paramount.

When police vehicles are used for this purpose the following actions must be undertaken: 

1) Inform supervision to obtain authority to transport.

2) Inform the Communications Centre in order that the relevant details be added to the incident log and/or an incident log to be created if not already in existence. 

Any decision to transport persons for the purpose of medical attention shall be considered on an individual basis according to the existing circumstances.  

Passengers in connection with operational incidents and duties  

Although Northumbria Police will not routinely offer to transport appropriate adults, keyholders, people involved in road traffic collisions, witnesses and next of kin, people released from police detention etc, there will be circumstances where it is appropriate and/or efficient to do so. Where this is done in connection with an incident:

i) Inform the Communications Centre and arrange for a comment to be added to the appropriate incident log. Where no incident log exists, officers should take steps to record and retain details of the passenger and journey.

ii) Inform supervision to obtain authority to transport where lengthy journeys are considered.  

Pre-planned operations - media and other agency passengers  

Where passengers are to be carried in connection with a pre-planned operation (for example, other enforcement agency staff or media representatives) the officer producing the operational order will, when undertaking risk assessments of the operation, specifically consider and document:  

  • Whether it is appropriate to carry passengers when it can be expected that circumstances may develop during the operation, particularly where it is anticipated that beacons and sirens or legal exemptions may need to be used.  
  • How passengers will be dealt with, should an emergency occur, which has not already been considered within the operational order, (e.g. leave passenger at a safe place, remove the vehicle carrying passengers from the danger area etc).  
  • Whether equipment (e.g. video or audio recorders) required by the passengers can safely be carried and what additional safety measures carrying the equipment will require.


GROUPS AFFECTED: All police officers and police staff


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