Swedish police to become better drivers

From 2013, Swedish police recruits will receive more extensive training in driving emergency vehicles in an attempt to reduce the number of officers injured in road accidents.

”Drivers will be given more insight into their own abilities, the influence of a the group and in stress management, but also into the limitations of the vehicle and the state of the roads,” said Åsa Hällefors, county driving instructor at the Umeå police, to regional newspaper Västerbottens Folkblad.

Hällefors also told the newspaper that further training in driving skills for the entire Swedish police force is on the cards in the near future.

According to the paper, 989 police officers were injured in road accidents between 2006 and 2010.

All the injured personnel received financial compensation for their injuries, 40 were hurt badly enough to be disabled, and two lost their lives. Not to mention the expensive damages caused to police vehicles.

Jörgen Lundälv, a researcher in traffic medicine, explained that Sweden’s police officers are involved in hundreds of accidents while on duty every year.

”Compared to other professional drivers there is a very low demand on the driving skills of police officers. Instead of training everyone they should have fewer but better trained police drivers,” Lundälv told the paper, welcoming news that recruits would receive more training.

According to Hällefors, the new recruits initial training sessions will be increased from eight to 15 days.

The training is also to be carried out in two stages, as it is believed that the newly examined officers should have more driving experience before they are let loose to drive with flashing lights and sirens going.

”The focus will shift onto the people in the vehicles. Research shows us that this is the area where we can prevent most accidents,” said Åsa Hällefors, county instructor at the Umeå police, to the paper.

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