From today’s Daily Telegraph:
Police officers and firefighters will not be prosecuted for breaking health and safety laws by putting their lives on the line, the Crown Prosecution Service said yesterday.
Officers carrying out “heroic acts” without regard to their own safety will in future be protected from charges.
It comes after a series of controversial incidents including the case of 10-year-old Jordan Lyon, who drowned in a pond in 2007 after rescuing his younger sister.
Police community support officers stood by because they had not carried out the necessary “water rescue” health and safety training.
A little extra information is provided by the Times from 2007 (emphasis mine):
The boy, Jordon Lyon, died despite a fully qualified police officer subsequently plunging into the water in an attempt to rescue him. His force made it clear this weekend that the officer was acting on his own volition and contrary to advice.
Officers are no longer required to be trained in swimming or lifesaving. One police force closed its training pool five years ago for health and safety reasons after an accident and it has not reopened.
This is a well-established phenomenon:
At the inquest into the 7/7 London Tube and bus bombings, in which 52 people died, distressing evidence has surfaced that station staff and fire officers refused to enter the Tube tunnels to help the wounded and dying because of health and safety regulations.
How did we ever get into a situation where health and safety concerns trumped human life? As a nation, what utter, utter depths of stupidity did we need to plumb to allow the compensation culture to drown out our instinctive humanity? And why have the politicians – who seem to have no difficulty in finding time to talk amongst themselves about their expenses – taken so long to find the time to reverse such patent lunacy?
At least we can now look forward to seeing the back of this inhuman, regressive mindset.
Simon Reed, vice chairman of the Police Federation, welcomed the move but stressed better training for officers was a greater issue.
*Apparently, according to UK law, all males over the age 14 must carry out 2 or so hours of longbow practice a week supervised by the local clergy.