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Wednesday, 24 October, 2001, 21:28 GMT 22:28 UK
Private ambulance 'loophole' uncovered
The law does not control privately run ambulances
The law does not control privately run ambulances
A BBC Wales investigation has highlighted how a man running a private ambulance service in West Wales has a lengthy record of serious convictions - including causing death by dangerous driving.

The programme found the law is powerless to prevent him doing emergency "blue light" driving.
Warren Treggiden
Warren Treggiden: 'Not properly trained'

Week In Week Out discovered a legal loophole, which enables Warren Treggiden - and others involved in the private ambulance sector - to drive casualties to hospital under a blue light without any specialist training.

Mr Treggiden, who runs the West Wales Ambulance Service in Pembroke Dock, has convictions for numerous offences including driving while disqualified and without insurance, driving in a dangerous manner and causing death by dangerous driving in the 1970s.

But under current UK law, Mr Tregidden points out that he does not require any special training.

The programme states that he was jailed for robbery in 1986, and in 1997 admitted defrauding the St John's Ambulance.

He supplies ambulance cover for sporting events such as moto-cross rallies and pony club meetings.

He had no training in driving emergency vehicles...this seemed totally wrong

Ken Williams, relative of accident victim

Mr Treggiden said by law, he is not required to undertake special driver training, as no regulatory framework exists.

Ken Williams, whose niece died when her car was struck by a private ambulance driver in Bath, is campaigning for a change in the law to force ambulance companies to train their drivers.

Mr Williams, who is being backed by the charity Roadpeace, told Week In Week Out: "The horrifying circumstance was the fact that, unfortunately, he had had no training in driving emergency vehicles...this seemed totally wrong."

The government said it is aware of the anomaly in standards and is considering a change in legislation.
Ken Williams: Long running battle
Ken Williams: Long running battle

Meanwhile, police watchdogs have expressed concern about the increasing number of deaths resulting from police pursuits.

The Police Complaints Authority is currently supervising investigations into four such fatalities on roads in Wales so far this year - two in the Gwent Police force area and two in south Wales.

Across England and Wales, the number of fatalities from such incidents has more than trebled over the past four years.

Lydia Morgan, 16, died when a drunk-driver ploughed into her while being involved in a police chase through Merthyr Tydfil in September 1999.

Driver Raymond Albert, who was already banned from driving, was jailed for seven-and-a-half years for causing death by dangerous driving.

A PCA-supervised investigation cleared the police officers involved of any blame, but Dr Morgan believes a major review of police pursuit policies is needed.

  • Week In Week Out - Emergency Blues - is broadcast on Wednesday, October 24, 10.35pm.
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