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Tuesday, 14 March, 2000, 12:59 GMT
Broadcaster condemns police training
Three people died in Scottish police car accidents last year
A broadcaster who was knocked down and seriously injured by a police van is calling for improvements in the high-speed pursuit training given to officers.

In a BBC Scotland Frontline programme, Sheena Macdonald says she is still angry about the circumstances in which she was hit by the van in London last year.

These are young boys driving what are in effect lethal weapons, two tons of steel, at speed

Sheena Macdonald
She is now suing the Metropolitan Police for compensation.

In 1999, three people died and 60 others were hurt in accidents involving police cars on Scotland's roads alone.

PC Glen Whitely, the driver of the vehicle which hit Ms Macdonald, was charged with driving without due care and attention.

PC acquitted

The stipendiary magistrate at a London court judged that the prosecution case was not good enough and PC Whitely was acquitted.

"I certainly think that driving fast is part of the police driving culture. Speed apparently matters to them very much," said Ms Macdonald.

"These are young boys driving what are in effect lethal weapons, two tons of steel, at speed.

Sheena Macdonald
Sheena Macdonald was badly hurt
"Twenty, 30 miles an hour is actually a colossal speed to be going at if you hit somebody."

Police chiefs in Scotland have defended their record, insisting that their officers are trained to drive safely in any environment.

Strathclyde assistant chief constable Martin Papworth said the dilemma for the police on an emergency call was to get to the scene as quickly but as safely as possible.

He acknowledged that there were no pursuit driver training courses or emergency response training courses in Scotland but said officers were adequately trained and had skills and expertise to draw upon.

Dr Gordon Sharp, author of a book entitled Human Aspects of Police Driving, said that even the most dedicated professional police driver tended to be impatient and intolerant.

Increasing concern about the number of police car accidents led to Doctor Sharp's lectures and his book becoming compulsory study at the Scottish Police College.

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See also:

05 Mar 00 | Scotland
Woman dies in police crash
15 Feb 00 | Scotland
Death crash officer convicted
11 Feb 00 | Scotland
New training since death crash
19 Oct 99 | Entertainment
Sheena back in the spotlight
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