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Driving School

Metropolitan Police Driving School

Courses: Course Explanation

Driving Courses

Police vehicles patrol whereas other emergency vehicles respond to incidents, as such it is likely that a police car will be on scene prior to arrival of an ambulance or fire engine.

Police react to many incidents, traffic accidents where persons may be injured, a person collapsed in their own home, a missing child, suspect packages and numerous other potential danger situations as well as when a member of the public reports a crime ‘in progress’.

Police are often requested by ambulance staff, this may be to assist with forced entry to an injured or sick person’s home or to deal with a sick or injured person who, for whatever reason, has a potential for violence.

Fire brigade may request police to deal with crowd control, road closures or evacuation, all in the interest of public safety.

Although, police and other emergency vehicles have legal exemptions from certain traffic regulations, the use of warning equipment does NOT give an emergency vehicle the right of way but merely alerts members of the public to its presence and that it is responding to an urgent matter.

In order to respond quickly and safely police drivers need extensive training using both marked and unmarked cars equipped with sirens and flashing emergency lights.

All driving courses are taught in accordance with the Police Drivers manual - Roadcraft, this publication is available from most good bookshops. Instructors will demand the following from drivers/riders on all courses;

  • Safety - there can be no compromise with safety, no emergency call is so important as to risk an accident en route.
  • System - students must demonstrate a systematic approach to all hazards, this is outlined in Roadcraft.
  • Smoothness - smooth use of brakes, steering, acceleration and deceleration.
  • Progress - students will be expected to make good progress without compromising the previously mentioned requirements.

Response

Police vehicleThese courses are designed to train officers to drive what we refer to as 'Response Vehicles', the cars are equipped with flashing blue lights, flashing headlights and sirens - they are used to respond to emergency calls but are not to be used for extended pursuits. The drivers of Response cars can initially pursue a vehicle that is NOT stopping for police but a high performance 'area car' driven by an 'Advanced Driver' must then take over when available.

The Standard Response course is of two weeks duration, students attend Hendon or one of our satellite locations having previously undertaken a theory and eye test. Instructors then address students in a classroom environment discussing mental attitude and how personal problems can affect driving as well as driving techniques. The Highway Code and the Police Drivers Handbook 'Roadcraft' are discussed at length and students are then taken out on local roads where their driving technique is worked on.

Training involves driving on a variation of roads including motorways, dual and single carriageway roads as well as single track roads. Extensive training driving with emergency lights and sirens is undertaken with absolute emphasis on safety.

Type 1 diabetic officers may drive police vehicles in response mode providing their blood - glucose levels were demonstrated to be under strict control.

As well as continual assessment there is a test during the last week - if any driver fails they may be offered further instruction as necessary.

Advanced

Police vehicleThe Advanced Wing trains drivers to a higher standard to enable certain vehicles to be involved in pursuits. All Advanced Students would have initially been trained to 'Standard Response' level and had a few years experience driving police cars using blue lights and sirens.

As with all courses there is an eyesight and theory test and then each student is given a short assessment drive - the instructor would be looking for a standard at least as good as the driver would have achieved a few years earlier on the Standard Response course. Students are then advised as to the importance of vehicle safety inspections; police cars are in use 24 hours per day and as such cover high mileage therefore it is vitally important that the vehicle is checked regularly in relation to tyres. water, oil, lights and brakes etc as well as equipment such as fire extinguishers and first aid kits.

The theory is discussed at length to cover driver attitudes and interpretation of Highway Code and the Police Drivers Handbook - Roadcraft.

Day two and students look at techniques such as a cockpit drill - Police Drivers use many different cars and it is important that before driving a strange vehicle that the driver knows where the horn, indicators, lights and reverse gear etc are.

Students are then taken out onto the roads and the importance of road position and observation are discussed, on local country roads the instructor will actually 'walk' a bend with students to point out limits of vision and, by looking across hedges and bushes, how clues can be obtained as to the difficulty of the road layout.

The student will be check tested by an examiner during week two to make sure they are of a suitable standard to continue and in week four a final test is conducted which includes a ‘pursuit’ element.

Motorcycle

Police vehicleThe motorcycle course is of three weeks duration, as with all driving courses there is a theory and eyesight test followed by a classroom session where various mechanical theory is discussed as well as discussion of the Highway Code and the Motorcycle version of Roadcraft - the Police Drivers Manual.

The students are then shown how to put the machine on and off the stand - this may appear quite simple but there is a technique to make it easier and reduce the possibility of any back injury.

Two days are then spent on the Peel Centre private road where students are observed by instructors and advised on slow speed manoeuvres to make sure riders can handle their motorcycle at very slow speeds. There is an obstacle test whereby riders have to demonstrate control in and out of cones at slow speeds and at this point a rider can FAIL.

The fourth day is spent on an Army 'off road' area using trials bikes, again this is to train the rider to maintain balance under difficult surface conditions.

The fifth day students are then taken onto public roads where their riding technique is then observed and improved upon.

The course is based on continuous assessment and there is a riding test in the final week.