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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 01:30 
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Public invited to contribute to Police Road Death Investigation Policy
02/08/2012

People in England and Wales are being invited to have their say in the shaping of a police policy into road death investigation.

The central role of the police service is to protect life and safeguard individuals and communities from the risk of serious harm and this includes working with partners to prevent and reduce the number of people who are killed or seriously injured on our roads.

To achieve the highest possible standards in the response to, investigation of and reporting of such collisions, police forces of England and Wales operate within agreed policy and guidance contained within the 2007 Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Road Death Investigation Manual (RDIM).

The RDIM has been under review since the early part of 2012 and police forces and partner agencies have been invited to submit comments and views to the consultation process. The consultation is now being broadened further to involve the wider community and general members of the public are being invited to have their say.

ACPO lead officer for policy in respect of the investigation of fatal and life changing road collisions across England and Wales, Assistant Chief Constable Sean White, commented: “The police service of England and Wales is committed to preventing and reducing the loss of life or serious injury on our roads. Long-term trends indicate that together with other agencies we are achieving that ambition. However, in 2011 in England and Wales on average five people still lost their lives on our roads every day, sixty three people sustained serious injuries and hundreds of others suffered other injuries.

The last few decades have demonstrated that a comprehensive road safety strategy can reduce the number of people killed or injured on the road, despite increasing traffic levels. Reported road deaths have reduced from approximately 5,500 a year in the mid 1980s to fewer than 2,000 a year (2011). Over the same period, reported road casualties have decreased from 240,000 to just over 200,000. Through a review of the RDIM there is a commitment to further reducing and preventing road traffic collisions and these figures.

Speaking about the review of the RDIM, ACC Sean White added: “The police service across England and Wales provides a very good service in responding to, investigating and reporting upon road traffic collisions, whilst also supporting individuals, the bereaved and families affected by such tragedies. However, we are not complacent and are ambitious to further improve. A lot has changed since the RDIM was last revised and published in 2007 and the expectations of families, the judicial system, technology and changes to law enforcement have necessitated a review of our strategy for investigating such incidents.

“Families quite rightly expect their police service to prevent and reduce these collisions from occurring and in the unexpected event that it impacts upon them they are entitled to the best service and support to aid them through such difficult time. We are committed to listening to their experiences and views as well as those of partner agencies, and to updating and amending our policy and practices to keep pace with and where possible exceed expectations.”

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive at Brake, the road safety charity, commented: “We welcome this review of the Road Death Investigation Manual, and look forward to continuing to work with police to prevent crashes and support families whose lives are turned upside down by these tragic events. As a charity providing national support services to people affected by a road death or serious injury, we bear witness to the terrible devastation these collisions cause. It is critical these families get the help they need, and that we learn from collisions to prevent further tragedies; police work liaising with victims and investigating crashes is fundamental to this. We are proud to work with every force in the country to support road crash victims, and pleased to have this opportunity to develop that work further.”

Amy Aeron-Thomas, executive director of RoadPeace, the national charity for road crash victims, added: “A thorough investigation is essential for justice. Without it, there is no chance of understanding what caused the collision, if someone should be prosecuted, the victim should be compensated, or how risk can be reduced in the future. With road deaths outnumbering homicides by three to one and all of us using the roads, the importance of police collision investigation cannot be over overstated.”

This is an important opportunity for people to have their say and to make an important contribution. At the end of the review a draft, revised road death investigation strategy and guidance will be published that will aim to provide direction for the next five years. Any contributions received will therefore inform the work that police officers and others undertake during the next five years.

Anyone interested in having their say can view the RDIM online at http://www.itai.org/docs/RDIM.pdf. The window of general consultation is open until the 7th September 2012 and comments can be made by emailing Assistant Chief Constable Sean White (sean.white@cleveland.pnn.police.uk), via the Cleveland Police website (http://www.cleveland.police.uk/) where a consultation form is available for completion, or by writing to ACC White at the Cleveland Police Headquarters in Middlesbrough.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 01:44 
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It seems somewhat concerning to be asking the general public to help with accident investigation, when typically the public are 'ignorant' and therefore their opinion is unreliable and uninformed.

The Rd Safety GB here : http://www.roadsafetygb.org.uk/news/2341.html
There are a few interesting comments, and in particular one that states that

bob craven Lancs wrote:
... Many years ago ACPO agreed that they could no longer protect life and property or maintain order. ...
bob craven Lancs

If ACPO have stated that, then they are failing to provide even the most basic of their Force's purpose, and that needs to be immediately and fully addressed.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 07:51 
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Someone, not necessarily the police, should investigate serious collisions with a view to understanding the root causes and not apportioning blame for the purposes of prosecution. The model to use is the one used in aircraft accidents where independent people do the work. IIRC the police are involved in many serious collisions themselves.

Road collisions do not need investigation like murders which is what seems to happen now. Is this whole review a bit of "special pleading" by the police for more funds?

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