Can the police be charged with causing death by dangerous driving or causing death by careless driving during an emergency 999 call? The answer is, as you would expect, ‘it depends on the circumstances.’ If the police were found guilty of causing a fatal accident then the dependents of the deceased can claim compensation.
During a high speed chase or a 999 call to come to a burglary or road traffic accident, the police are no different and are subject to the law despite the circumstances.
Death by careless driving brings lesser charges than death by dangerous driving as you would expect but any such charges brought against a police officer may not only mean a possible jail sentence but a loss of his or her job as a police officer. The result can therefore be devastating in addition to the guilt and psychological trauma giving rise to the accident.
But can one split second decision mean the difference of life or death, innocence and guilt? It will depend on the circumstances and facts of the case. Certainly the urgency of the call or the event will be taken into account and the risk that the office put himself or herself applied in the circumstances.
Thus the need for high speed to attend a possible fatal car accident or crime being committed has to be balanced with the need for the officer, whilst traveling to the scene to make sure that the police officer does not take unnecessary risks. The obvious one that springs to mind is failing to stop at a set of traffic light where the light is on red at speed. One would expect that the officer would slow down to ensure that the road was clear rather than carry on at speed through the junction without checking whether it was safe for the vehicle to proceed.
Ambulance and Fire Service are Subject to the Same Rules
The law is not restricted to the Police the ambulance service and fire brigade are subject to the same law. Without it applying to the emergency services could mean that innocent by standers are killed or seriously injured which will result in further harm and misery to others.