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Vehicle pursuit management

Dated: 06 Jan 2013

POLICY TITLE: Vehicle Pursuit Management

OWNING DIRECTORATE: Local Policing and Operations

AUTHOR: Chief Inspector, Roads Policing, Operations Department



AIM OF POLICY: To outline Force policy in respect of vehicle pursuits, their application and practice.

BENEFIT OF POLICY: To provide clarity for police officers in the management of vehicle pursuits.

REASON FOR POLICY:  Northumbria Police recognises its positive duty to protect life imposed by Article 2 of the Human Rights Act 1998. The Force also has a duty to prevent crime and to prosecute offenders.


The safe stopping of vehicles by authorised police drivers is part of everyday police duties. However, the pursuit of offenders in vehicles is sometimes necessary to identify or arrest offenders, or to prevent or minimise the risk to the public caused by offending drivers. Pursuits will be effectively managed and the need and risk will be assessed continuously. Pursuits will not be conducted where safety is compromised.

A police driver is deemed to be in pursuit when:

  • a driver indicates by their actions, or continuance of their manner of driving, that they have no intention of stopping for police and the police driver believes that the driver of the subject vehicle is aware of the requirement to stop and decides to continue behind the subject vehicle with a view to either reporting its progress or stopping it. 

Pursuit may be spontaneous or pre-planned.

A 'pursuit' can be divided into two phases – the 'Initial' and 'Tactical':

  • The Initial Phase will begin as soon as a driver fails to stop for police or flees on sight of the patrol vehicle.

  • The Tactical Phase may be declared once a Pursuit Commander is identified. When the pursuit moves into the Tactical Phase, options for a proportionate response and to bring the pursuit to a conclusion will be decided.

Pursuits will only be undertaken by officers who have undertaken a pursuit training module commensurate with their level of involvement.  The Tactical Phase will only be undertaken by Advanced drivers in suitable vehicles to stop the subject vehicle as soon and as safely as possible.

If a collision involving a police vehicle or vehicle being pursued causes death or serious injury, Northumbria Police will refer the matter to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.


GROUPS AFFECTED: All Police Officers


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