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  1. ITV Report

Police call for protection from prosecution when pursuing moped and scooter riders

Police in the battle against moped menaces are calling for new guidelines that will protect them from prosecution if anything goes wrong during pursuit.

Currently police are subject to the same road laws as civilians, meaning they can be prosecuted for dangerous driving.

The proposed changes to the law will recognise the training traffic police are given and the specialist driving skills they have compared to ordinary drivers.

A troubling task for police is stopping illegal moped and scooter riders because some of the only options available to officers - grabbing the rider or knocking them off their bike - are likely to injure the rider.

Criminal urban moped and scooter riders are becoming increasingly difficult to apprehend. Credit: ITV News

Sergeant James Ellerton from Merseyside Police found himself in the dock after knocking a dangerous motorist of his bike and breaking his leg.

Sergeant Ellerton was acquitted of any wrongdoing by a jury but believes he should never have been prosecuted in the first place.

He said: "I was doing my job, I made a promise to protect the public and keep the peace.

"So if I'm doing that, if I'm in accordance with my duty, the promise that I made, then how can it be that I get prosecuted for carrying out exactly what I said I would do."

Sergeant James Ellerton from Merseyside Police injured a moped rider by knocking him off the bike. Credit: ITV News

The Police Federation of England and Wales has been calling for changes to guidelines for years to help them against the growing threat of urban riders.

However, lawyer Andre Clovis, who represents clients injured in police pursuits, believes giving police a "separate standard" to civilian drivers is a "dangerous road to go down".

He added: "Who decides what is reasonable and competent driving for a police driver? The police service?"

The Government is set to put forward ideas for changes to the guidelines on Tuesday.