Hand held radios (Police) - v8man
Can any serving police officers please explain why it is ok for you to drive on blue lights at excessive speed in built up areas with one hand on the wheel and the other using your radio? I witnessed this in Eastbourne the other day. Also, this was beatifully displayed on the recent BBC1 series on the Met Traffic where the in car camera showed the officer to be exceeding 80mph in an residential street chasing a white Sierra driven by a schoolboy. The narrator told us that PC XXXXX was trained to the highest level. Really! By the way I don't approve use of phones while moving.
Hand held radios (Police) - Gen
Because it's necessary for the police to do it in emergency situations, but not for you to call home to ask your wife to put the kettle on.
Hand held radios (Police) - v8man
No it is not necessary! It is either dangerous to drive while using radios/phones or it is not. On the telly programme the passenger was on the radio as well. Why can't the police have full duplex radio kits the same as Nokia do for phones?
Hand held radios (Police) - Marcos{P}
Could it be that because of the sirens going and the engine screaming if it was a hands free system the noise would be drowned out.
Hand held radios (Police) - DavidHM
It is either dangerous to drive while using radios/phones or it is not.

I see your point, but I don't really agree with it. If driver and passenger can be in radio contact, it's hard to see why the driver needs to be - although I am not a pursuit driver.

Obviously police drivers shouldn't be encouraged to use the radio when driving but obviously, if a chase needs to be coordinated to bring it to a quick and safe end then that requires two way communication. While talking on the radio almost certainly makes the immediate situation more dangerous, if it can reduce the length of a chase by a certain amount of time, there is an overall contribution to safety and a reduction in resources used by the police.

Because of the close attention that is (or should be) paid to police driving, it is much easier to come up with exceptions in these circumstances than it is for the general public who (and I include myself in this) don't appreciate wider safety implications as well as trained drivers, and are much more likely to take the attitude that if you don't get caught it doesn't matter.
Hand held radios (Police) - midlifecrisis
If I remember correctly, the passanger in this vehicle was a new probationer, who couldn't give an adequate commentary.(Although I could be wrong-memory isn't what it was.) However, our cars are fitted with hands-free mikes which are perfectly acceptable and useable.
It isn't acceptable to drive at these speeds trying to talk into a mike attached to your chest. These programmes do give the impression that this is a fairly common occurence in the Met.(I would be happy to be proved wrong.) The drivers often seem to be affected by the prescence of the cameras. As a Grade 1 advanced driver for the last 5 years, both myself and my colleagues often wince at what we see. I can't say I've never done it, but I can assure you it isn't common practice.
Hand held radios (Police) - v8man
I'm glad it is not, but I have witnessed it by my own local police in Eastbourne. I am a member of the IAM but do not consider myself able to concentrate on driving at legal speeds and use the phone let alone at pursuit speeds. I have a full duplex kit in my car but only answer calls on it as it still requires button pushing to make a call.
Hand held radios (Police) - Fullchat
The Police Service is currently being rolled out with new technology. It is the 'Airwave@ system and by 2005 the whole country will be on this new system. Basically its a radio and mobile phone rolled into one and based on mobile phone technology. Digital, encrypted - the dogs do das. Forces are spending millions of pounds fitting this equipment both hand held and vehicle sets. Rest assured the hands free issue is being addressed with all the vehicle fits. Sometimes 'hands free' was fitted using the old analogue system but was not to bright when all the bells and whistles were switched on therefore to be clearly heard it was a case of having a mike in the hand. And yes it does not fare well with all the current problems with mobile phones.

Hand held radios (Police) - David Lacey
"Because it's necessary for the police to do it in emergency situations, but not for you to call home to ask your wife to put the kettle on."

Totally agree with you on that one! But you'd never see a fire engine driver doing it, that's what the OIC is for who is ALWAYS on board. It's usual for the passenger in a pursuit car in a pursuit situation to do the commentary. I guess it boils down to the unpredictable nature of the Police's day to day business, not knowing what's going to happen etc
Hand held radios (Police) - Morris Ox
This is one of those blindingly obvious questions which never seems to get asked when we debate the pros and cons of 'ordinary' drivers doing anything from using mobiles to sipping water while driving.

Not entirely convinced by the official responses, especially when technology exists for most conversations to be hands-free.

Reminds me of an encounter I had a few years ago attending an official event in an official capacity, so to speak. Was a mile or two from where it was being held when I saw an area car looming large in my mirrors with blues (not twos) on. Dutifully let him past, catching a brief glance of a familiar face, and watched him as he disappeared very fast but very safely into the distance.

Caught up with him when I got there, smirked at him and asked him if he'd been running a bit late today. 'No comment,' he said with a sheepish grin...

Hand held radios (Police) - Flat in Fifth
The only comment I would make is that if we were to see a shot of the force control room at the time of the alleged one handed driving incidents what would we see.

I'd bet a fiver to a penny we would observe a radio operator complete with integrated head set and mike allowing him/her the ability to communicate and type with *both* fingers. So can we conclude that typing requires more dexterity than driving? No on your nelly!

Its not rocket science and as Fullchat knows certain forces have had hands free in pursuit cars (at least) for yonks.

Hand held radios (Police) - neil
Quite agree! My force specifically does not allow pursuits where there is no handsfree available - unless the car is double crewed and the passenger is able to do comms. All cars have handsfree kit, if its u/s the the car can't be used for pursuit etc. The Airwave rollout is a huge logistical exercise though - almost a thousand vehicles to be kitted up. This means that at times handsfree is less likely to be available on the correct channel until the transitional period is over. Even so, we won't use handhelds at speed.

In the other hand 'why is it safer than using my mobile phone'? - mainly because the person at the other end isn't surprised, and doesn't start saying 'are you still there, dear? ... hello? hello? Ooh, you ARE rude!...etc if we have to go quiet, so we can talk only when its safe to do so and just stop talking, unannounced when it isn't!

Also - the comms operator can be shut up very readily if it isn't safe to listen, by saying 'stand by' - unlike your boss/wife/auntie, who will likely not appreciate being told to shut up as you negotiate that roundabout... and because we don't say, or need to say, much... just short, clipped, focused replies or confirmations - not 'yip,yap, yip,yap like the average mobile call!

We prefer not to do it at all, ever - and we WON'T in pursuits, ever - but until the Airwave rollout is completed, would you rather the car on its way to your burglary in progress stopped every time they needed to speak to the comms centre to get more info... or continued, talking briefly into a handheld when safe?

Honestly? Hmm!
Hand held radios (Police) - v8man
No, I would like Utopia! where the police force is properly manned and you can have two officers in the car all the time. I know this is fantasy but hey!


Value my car