Police Driving

Canada

New recruits (cadets) undergo six months of basic training each year at “Depot”, Regina’s historic Royal Canadian Mounted Police academy. While at Depot, recruits spend 52 hours at the driving unit, acquiring many of the same advanced driving skills that civilian schools teach to would-be race drivers….

High speed driving isn’t as common as many civilians think — particularly those who get such ideas from American “reality” television shows. In fact, wild, uncontrolled driving is essentially forbidden in Canada. Even skillful, controlled pursuits are strongly discouraged….

Along the way, cadets also learn how to manoeuvre their two-ton patrol cars with the speed, precision and agility of a Musical Ride horse. They develop such skills on a dedicated tarmac pad, passing through a series of five coned work stations. Each entails repeated and tightly timed runs — backward and forward — through obstacle courses, offset lane changes, into and out of a multiple coned “garages”….

Achieving a pass is particularly tough at the wheel of a full-sized sedan. I quickly discovered that tight performance school steering techniques don’t work on any big sedan that requires several turns of the wheel, lock to lock.

This has prompted instructors to make “push/pull” steering an essential to the course. It’s somewhat similar to the “wheel shuffling” that seems taboo among performance-driving gurus. Push/pull demands smooth co-ordination….

Read the full article — Driving with the RCMP — on the RCMP website, by Max Wickens


U.K.

British traffic police officers undergo a minimum of two-stage driver-training (totaling at least six weeks) or sometimes even three-stage training (totaling ten weeks) to get them to the ‘advanced’ level required for driving patrol cars, and another one or two equally arduous courses are necessary if they are to qualify as patrol motorcyclists as well.

A brief summary of their typical, 160-hour advanced car course (which may only be taken after at least a previous ‘standard’ course —  see below) may be found at the Scottish Police College website.

As a result, officers who qualify both as advanced drivers and advanced motorcyclists benefit from up to 680 hours of high-speed training (including basic and intermediate levels). To qualify as an instructor in both disciplines would require a further 496 hours of training.

Apart from skid pan sessions, virtually all British police driver training takes place on public roads and therefore avoids the sterile, almost traffic-free environment of private circuits. It also means that learning to ensure the safety of other road users is an inescapable necessity at all times; and that, more than anything else, is arguably what advanced driver training is truly about.

The three-stage training referred to above can be defined as follows (source — UK Association of Chief Police Officers):

  • Basic Driving – Training to fulfill a patrol function within the constraints of the Highway Code [n.b the British ‘Highway Code’ is somewhat similar to a U.S. a state driver’s manual but is more detailed]. Typically four weeks/160 hours.
  • Standard Driving – Extending basic training to include emergency response driving, night response driving and most importantly, attitudinal training. A pragmatic introduction to pursuit incidents and pursuit management in line with standard level car control skills. Typically three weeks/120 hours.
  • Advanced Driving – Achieving a high level of all round driver skills, enabling pursuits and high speed response driving, as well as a full understanding of the effects of attitude and associated stress.Typically three weeks/120 hours.

[Note: Italicised notes or emphasis, above, have been added by Drive and Stay Alive]

If an officer passes an initial police driving test and demonstrates that he/she is an adequately safe driver, he/she may be permitted to forego the Basic Driving course and be accepted straight onto a Standard Driving course (hence the references, above, to two- or three-stage training). The three stages outlined above would normally cover a total of ten weeks and advanced motorcycle training would require 3-7 additional weeks.

So What Exactly IS ‘Advanced Driving’?

Skid Pan/Pad and Emergency Evasion Techniques are Only a SMALL Part of Advanced Driving

Police Driver Training  (UK, 2005)


U.S.A.

Typically, it would appear that police driver training for U.S. law enforcement personnel lasts from two to five days, depending upon the department.

As an insight to American methodology, here is the website link for the State of Maryland Law Enforcement Driver Training Facility.

The Law Enforcement Driving Instructor Program, 2003, for Colorado.

Legal Aspects of Law Enforcement Driving (pdf) from Maricopa Community Colleges

Police Driving Programs from the Central Missouri State University

Advanced Driver Instructor Training Program — Topics, from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center