The number of crashes involving response drivers from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is continuing to grow, according to new data.

Figures published by London mayor Sadiq Khan have shown MPS drivers were involved in 1,748 collisions in 2015/16, up from 1,646 in 2014/15 and 1,492 the previous year.

The information, issued in response to a written question by London Assembly member Steve O’Connell, also show that there were 498 crashes during police pursuits last year, compared with 434 in 2014/15 and 474 in 2013/14.

Mr O’Connell said: “The safety of both police officers and the general public has to be the highest priority during high-speed pursuits and responses.

“Clearly there is a need for police vehicles to drive at high speeds in emergency situations, but it is a worrying trend to see an increase in the number of collisions and one that must be reversed.

“It is vitally important that police pursuits are conducted as safely as possible. I’ll be asking the Mayor to look closely at this increase and to assess ways in which the risks can be reduced for all involved.”

A woman died and a man was left critically injured on Tuesday (August 11) in a car crash following a police pursuit in Wandsworth.

The officers were investigating reports that the couple had been trying to fly a drone over the walls of nearby Wandsworth Prison.

Another two people were injured in July when a MPS car responding to an emergency call clipped another vehicle and collided with diners sitting outside a restaurant in Highgate.

A man was taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries, and a woman was treated at the scene for minor injuries. The two officers were also treated for whiplash.

A spokesperson for the force said: “The MPS maintains a high standard of recording where its vehicles have been involved in some form of collision during pursuits.

“Any damage, no matter how minor, would be recorded as a pursuit incident, these include minor scuffs or scratches on any vehicle and where the vehicle that failed to stop for police is damaged when it is abandoned by the suspect.

“New tactics and pursuit training have been developed and are currently being rolled out to all officers trained in tactical pursuit and containment tactics… to ensure pursuits are brought to a safe conclusion.”

**STORY BY ADAM BUTTON FOR POLICEPROFESSIONAL**