Police have been given assurances they will not be prosecuted for pursuing riders without helmets, as the Home Office launches a consultation on the subject.


Last month officers were advised they should chase motorcycle thieves without the worry that they themselves will end up in court. Additional assurances are offered by the consultation.


The move is aimed at tackling the sense that criminals can evade police simply by driving in a reckless fashion.


At present, both police and the general public are judged under the same legal test.


Historically, Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) discretion is relied upon by police in order to avoid facing criminal prosecutions. Officers are also frequently suspended from duty while Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigations take place.


Minister for Policing and the Fire Service, Nick Hurd, said: “Police officers must have the confidence to pursue suspects where it is safe to do so and criminals should be in no doubt that they will not get away with a crime by simply driving recklessly.


“Our proposed changes will make sure that skilled police drivers who follow their rigorous training are protected, while ensuring the minority of officers who do cross the line are robustly held to account.”


With a view to dispelling the notion that police cannot pursue riders without helmets, legislation will make clear that a suspect is responsible for deciding to drive recklessly - and that pursuing officers should not be blamed.


With increased protection for police officers, it is hoped that rising motorcycle-related crime will be cut. In the 12 months to February 2018 there were 24,329 scooter-related crimes, a rise of 10,170 on the previous 12 months.


Illustrating the problem, a Yamaha MT-07 owner recently filmed thieves on bikes attempting to steal a motorcycle from outside his home during the day.