How are 999 drivers trained?
Jan 13 2009 by Andrew Hirst, Huddersfield Daily Examiner
IN the wake of Saturday’s road accident when three pedestrians were hurt in an accident with a fire engine deputy news editor ANDREW HIRST takes a look at how 999 drivers are trained and the pressures they face.
They have to go through an intensive three-week course to get to the stage where they can use blue lights to respond to an emergency call.
The first two weeks are a close examination of their driving skills and only if they are deemed competent can they go on to the third week where the response skills are learned.
They do simulated runs on the full range of roads, from country lanes to busy city centre ring roads and at both day and night.
After three weeks they leave the training school with a standard police driving permit.
Other officers need to go on the advanced course. These are specialist traffic police, armed response officers and specialist crime squads.
This course runs for a month; and bear in mind these officers will already hold standard permits.
They learn all about the high performance cars they have to drive – ranging from Volvos to BMWs – along with these vehicles’ limits. A front-wheel drive car handles totally differently to a rear-wheel one.
Only officers who have done this course – plus another week-long course – can get involved in pursuits where suspect vehicles can be forcibly stopped.
West Yorkshire driver training supervisor Sgt Lance Milburn said: “The courses are among the best in the world and have been developed over many years. Bear in mind that police forces in some countries have no driver training at all.”