Home > Emergency Services > The Police Role in Road Accidents

The Police Role in Road Accidents

By: Tracy Whitelaw - Updated: 5 Jan 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Police Involvement In Accidents Police

Many people in the UK aren’t sure of their legal rights when it comes to being involved in an accident. Most aren’t sure whether they’re required to contact the police or whether they should simply call their insurance company. There are a variety of roles that the police play in traffic accidents, but they differ greatly dependent on the nature of the accident. Below are some common situations that occur in traffic accidents and the extent of police involvement in these scenarios.

Traffic Accidents Where Nobody is Injured

If you have been involved in a traffic accident and nobody has been hurt in it there may be no reason to involve the police. If both parties involved stop and exchange names, addresses and registration details, this is sufficient to comply with road traffic law and there’s no need to involve the police. Only call in the police if you believe you’ve been provided with false information from the other individual or are concerned they may have been driving illegally.

If you’re involved in an accident where nobody was hurt, but your car was damaged and the other driver doesn’t stop then you should report this to the police within 24 hours. Ideally if you can get the registration plate then that is helpful, but the police may be able to find the individual by other means, especially if the car had an identifying mark on it, such as a work logo. In these cases, the police will attempt to prosecute if there’s enough evidence to secure a conviction.

Traffic Accidents Where You are Injured

Police forces throughout the country differ in their approach to dealing with people who have been injured in a car accident. If you want to report the accident to the police then you are able to do so. If you do, the police must take a report of the accident which they will then investigate at a later date.

Always seek medical attention first if you feel that your injuries are significant. The police can be contacted at a later date and will arrive on the scene if the accident is a major accident anyway. If you’re involved in hitting a stationary object such as a street sign then you should report the accident as soon as possible, again within 24 hours is best.

Emergency Call Outs to an Accident

If you’re involved in an accident that is considered a major accident, the role of the police will be greatly increased. They will attend the scene as soon as they’re informed of the accident and will direct traffic and pedestrians away from the scene. They are also likely to start questioning you on the accident, assuming you’re in a position to respond.

They will want details of what happened and will take details of any witnesses also. They will use these to form a police report and you should always try and obtain a copy of this for your own records in case you need it in the future. The police will work in conjunction with any other emergency services who arrive at the scene.

General Information About Police Involvement

You can report your accident to any police force in the country, ideally local is best as then you have a point of contact that you can visit to check on the reports progress. The time taken before the police contact you regarding the accident can vary from two weeks to six weeks. When you do report the accident, always have your licence, MOT and insurance paperwork available as well as the details of the other individual involved.

Remember, the police are happy to help at the scene of an accident, but aren’t always required. If you are involved in an accident that is straight forward and you swap details you believe to be correct with the offending individual, there’s usually no need to call the police. Seek advice from your insurance company if you’re unsure about the process.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Dave - Your Question:
I stopped at giveway on a crossroads.Checked left and saw a bus at a stop approx 35 meters from junction.I checked right was clear.Checked left and bus was still stationary.So pulled out to go straight across.I crossed center line of junction and was across the 2nd lane when the bus broadsided my passenger side with its front.My car was spun to face the same direction the bus was traveling but came to a stop still 75%over center white lines.Bus passenger statements state driver pulled away and put his foot right down.Was dealing with a passenger at his ticket machine as he came down the road and he took no action to avoid collision or braking.He wouldnt give me details for insurance until after police came I called them.Even then I got his name bus reg and self insured as info.no address etc.Police didnt seem interested.It was 10 am boxing day morning and no attempt to breathalyze either driver.Or talk to witnesses.Just oh its an insurance matter.I have bruising and soft tissue damage.Possibly a longterm shoulder problem.My insurance have indicated im at fault as I crossed give way line.I drove a 16 yr old picasso and was going to pull onto my drive only 5 meters past junction I was crossing so no need to speed.What are your views please guys

Our Response:
We can't give opinions on individual liability unfortunately. If you're adamant you weren't at fault advice is to talk again to the insurer and ask whether they've considered information from the passenger witness etc
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 8-Jan-18 @ 11:28 AM
I stopped at giveway on a crossroads. Checked left and saw a bus at a stop approx 35 meters from junction. I checked right was clear. Checked left and bus was still stationary. So pulled out to go straight across. I crossed center line of junction and was across the 2nd lane when the bus broadsided my passenger side with its front. My car was spun to face the same direction the bus was traveling but came to a stop still 75%over center white lines. Bus passenger statements state driver pulled away and put his foot right down. Was dealing with a passenger at his ticket machine as he came down the road and he took no action to avoid collision or braking. He wouldnt give me details for insurance until after police came i called them. Even then i got his name bus reg and self insured as info..no address etc . Police didnt seem interested. It was 10 am boxing day morning and no attempt to breathalyze either driver. Or talk to witnesses. Just oh its an insurance matter. I have bruising and soft tissue damage. Possibly a longterm shoulder problem. My insurance have indicated im at fault as i crossed give way line. I drove a 16 yr old picasso and was going to pull onto my drive only 5 meters past junction i was crossing so no need to speed. What are your views please guys
Dave - 5-Jan-18 @ 10:57 AM
I was driving a minibus with 12 children and myself as the driver.I used a Bus only right turn from a side road into a main road.The turning is right next to a pelican crossing on the left of the junction.The lights were red and the traffic had stopped, and a car gave me room to emerge into the main road.As I did so a motorcyclist clad in black leathers and riding a black bike appeared on my left side and struck the minibus nearside corner bumper.After a letter from his solicitor stating he had overtaken a car on the pedestrian crossing I presumed he had jumped the lights.Today I got an intended prosecution letter from my local law enforcement stating I was in the wrong.I have read many references to minibus using a bus lane and presumed it to be the same, in that its allowed as long as its not marked "local"
TH52 - 6-Jun-17 @ 5:46 PM
Driver100 - Your Question:
I was driving across a T junction when an oncoming car who was turning right cut in front of my car to turn right as I was driving across and we collided. The lights were green and I had the right of way as I was going straight across and hey were turning right. However, they are saying it is my fault. As there are no cameras and it is my word against hers and also her friends who were in the car, I am worried. Do you think there is any chance that insurance will say I am at fault?

Our Response:
We can't give opinions on this kind of thing on this site sorry. We don't have all the facts or both parties' opinions so it's just not possible.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 11-Apr-17 @ 11:35 AM
I was driving across a T junction when an oncoming car who was turning right cut in front of my car to turn right as I was driving across and we collided. The lights were green and I had the right of way as I was going straight across and hey were turning right. However, they are saying it is my fault. As there are no cameras and it is my word against hers and also her friends who were in the car, I am worried. Do you think there is any chance thatinsurance will say I am at fault?
Driver100 - 9-Apr-17 @ 3:54 PM
Hi i was involved in a RTA i was turning right at traffic lights there was alot of traffic as it was rush hour and it was raining. When i thought it was safe to turn i did so all of a sudden as im turning right aCyclist is there and iv hit her, i didnt see her at all a untill this moment not sure if she had lights or anything. I did stop helped her up and stayed with her for a while i called out for someone to call an ambalance as i thought it be best for her to get checked over i felt so awful about it and said i would pay for her to get her bike fixed even though i dont know whose at fault we was both in shock tbh. Anyway we exchanged details and i went on my way. Iv now recived a letter from the rta saying how they will be a investagating this. Im just so worried now as i havent reported this to the insurence company which i am a named driver on my bf insurence. So my question is what should i expect from this outcome and what should i do in the meantime??
Zara - 24-Jan-17 @ 3:11 PM
I was coming to a roundabout looking to make sure there was none coming. There was a car coming but I had plenty of time to go so put my foot down a little didn't see the car in front of me who had stopped for the car so went into it. The person wasnt hurt and the car wasn't damage. My car was. The police wasn't called and they didn't give me any details. I did give them my name and address. Now they are trying to claim off me and have received a letter from the MIB can I get in trouble and lose my licence
Heav - 23-Jan-17 @ 8:47 AM
Police attened the scene of a accident and took a statement off me while I was drunk. Am sure what I stated are not true. Can they use that in court?
Abu - 18-Jan-17 @ 10:16 PM
When on my bike travelling up hill by around 5 mph, I was hit from behind by a transit van travelling at around 30 mph. Van did not see me (my opinion) with bumper smashing my back wheel and rear of bike, ended up in 16 pieces. The impact broke my back at my L4 Vertebra.It was a direct hit from being and threw me luckily to the left and so the van did not drive over me. The police are not taking any action against the motorist as he (the motorist) said that I had veered out into the road and he could not have avoided me.However, I would have had to veer out 2m for him to hit me in this position, on the basis that he gave me the 1.5m space as per the Highway code. On the day, what should the police officer have done, e.g. take photographs, measurements.I was laid out in road in pain waiting for ambulance so I could not do much.
Taff - 1-Jan-17 @ 4:54 PM
My son was driving on the motorway when a foreign lorry swerved into him. A witness saw the accident and rang the police but didn't stop. The traffic police turned up and tried to get details from the driver but he only spoke German so they said they couldn't get much out of him. They left without passing over any details apart from the fact the driver wasn't carrying the right paperwork. They didn't leave their details. Is there any way we can find out who the witness was and/or the police involved?Else it is simply my sons word against the other driver.
Fatman - 8-Dec-16 @ 5:25 PM
My parents were crossing the road on Saturday night after coming out of a working mans club. I was behind them. A car drove out of a road and turned onto the road they were crossing and hit them. He had not stopped at the line and pulled off. He had simply carried on going presumably after only looking for on coming car head lights. I was told around half an hour later that he would be attending a driver awareness course. Nobody had given any personal details to be contacted at that stage because no one had asked for them. I asked the officer to take my details and the other two witnesses (one who had not been drinking at all as was driving) and he did so on my request. A week later we have not heard anything from the police. I have phoned and left a message and I am told he will get back to me tonight. My question is can he decide on a driver awareness course without taking statements? His words were 'there is no malice'. I understand that and I am not pressing for a change in the outcome as the man had not been drinking and had no phone apparently. But I do want to know if best practice was followed.
heff - 25-Nov-16 @ 12:59 PM
Panda - Your Question:
Hi I was pulling out of my drive at a snails pace and a child ended up under my car the child had no lights on his bike he was 3 the mum was way up the road and could not see her son the mother pulled the child from under neath. The car ( you are not suppose to move anyone till ambulance arrive ) I am now at my wits end as the child is still in hospital. But police say I did nothing wrong please answer this

Our Response:
We can't really give you an answer as you've not asked a question. Take any advice that the police give you and if the child's parents decide to take any further action, seek help from a motoring lawyer.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 8-Nov-16 @ 11:32 AM
Hi I was pulling out of my drive at a snails pace and a child ended up under my car the child had no lights on his bike he was 3 the mum was way up the road and could not see her son the mother pulled the child from under neath. The car ( you are not suppose to move anyone till ambulance arrive) I am now at my wits end as the child is still in hospital. But police say I did nothing wrong please answer this
Panda - 6-Nov-16 @ 6:46 PM
Noddi - Your Question:
My grandaughters partner was hit by a car being chased by a police car, which collided with him and carried oon the police said they would come the next day with an incident number. When he got in touch with his insurance company they said that they would believe he was not at fault but will still have to pay his excess oof £250. Is this right as he was the innocent party. Thanks noddi

Our Response:
Yes, he would have to try and claim this back from the driver or police. The MIB might be able to help.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 1-Jul-16 @ 2:36 PM
My grandaughters partner was hit by a car being chased by a police car, which collided with him and carried oon the police said they would come the next day with an incident number. When he got in touch with his insurance company they said that they would believe he was not at fault but will still have to pay his excess oof £250. Is this right as he was the innocent party. Thanks noddi
Noddi - 29-Jun-16 @ 8:19 PM
Hello! I have a problem andlooking for HELP. In 29.08.2015 - INVERNESSmy car was involved in road accident. It is not my fault or my husband fault (at accident time he drive my car ). I need the accident details from POLICE, but here have not possible - Police don't do this to private persons., my car go to scrap (to AVIVA ) At the moment I receive only for my car a check for 125£ , (minus - 350£ Excess ) - but once it is not we fault - for what excess money is taken ? I am shocked -AVIVA only say - Police DON'T senda accident details to AVIVA. Please what I can do ? P SYesterday I was in local CAB, but they as well dont help, because I have not detailsabout.
Helen - 17-Mar-16 @ 12:26 AM
shell - Your Question:
I not sure where I stand regards this situation and need advice as not been in situation before while walking kids out of school gates a car was parked on the pavement as I went past the car reversed back hitting back of legs causing me to fall and driver drove off and is now saying I fell over and police aren't peruse matter what should I do

Our Response:
Your only option if the police will not pursue it, would be to take private legal action. Do you have evidence? Were there witnesses etc? You wouldhave to have been injured or have some kind of loss that you could prove if you were to be compensated though.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 29-Jan-16 @ 12:39 PM
I not sure where I stand regards this situation and need advice as not been in situation before while walking kids out of school gates a car was parked on the pavement as I went past the car reversed back hitting back of legs causing me to fall and driver drove off and is now saying I fell over and police aren't peruse matter what should I do
shell - 28-Jan-16 @ 11:31 AM
My daughter was involved in what she believes was a crash for cash accident. I have been in touch with The Insurance Fraud Bureau about this and also contacted the insurance company to offer them photographs of the accident once they informed me of the alleged injuries. I have now found out that my daughter was given 5 points on her licence and a substantial fine, because someone was injured in this accident, yet I have a photograph of the alleged injured person standing behind her, apparently, undamaged vehicle, shortly before the ambulance arrived to strap her down and stretcher her off to hospital.According to the attending officer she was back at work the following day so the supposed injury was perversely exaggerated in my opinion, yet my daughter received 5 points for driving without due care and attention? Apparently my daughter was not offered a driving course instead of the points and fine as I believe is the custom and she was visited by the officer three times, twice on his own and once with a colleague? The first time he apparently said he had just finished his shift but popped in to see if she was okay? Finally, I have been informed that "The police should not question you with a view to getting evidence until they have cautioned you" but my daughter has told me that the officer did not caution her, is this right?
MadDad - 22-Oct-15 @ 10:02 PM
If a child is injured in a rta does the hospital inform the police
enn - 4-Sep-15 @ 12:07 PM
@eddy. That kind of decision is for the police/courts to make, the insurers will not be able to give you any information about action from their point of view unless they intend to sue.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 4-Aug-15 @ 12:19 PM
my misses was involved in accident two young lad was driving and run red traffic light hit her car and the car been complely write off.the police officer who was interview her told her they arrest the driver and he had nolicence but car was insure.according to the police he pleaded guilty to cause that accident.all gone through to our insurance.but according my insurance we still waiting a reply from there insurance for about full responsibility causing that accident.i want to know what will happen to the driver who got arrested ? Thanks
eddy - 3-Aug-15 @ 9:29 PM
I was involved in a multi car accident in November 2014 police was involved at the scene taking all driver details and insurance details as several people needed medical attention and one was taken to hospital, the problem I am having is my solicitors & insurance company got the registration of the car who caused the accident but not the drivers name as I presumed with police taking every ones details. The driver as been sent on a driver awareness course by police, but they will not give out any information about driver as the say data protection and insurance company will not process claim as they only have registration of vehicle and not driver. Any advice on how to obtain driver details of person who caused accident or right organisation to complain to.
ste - 19-Jul-15 @ 9:12 AM
@Tiddles. There's not much we can do to help on specific cases. In this instance, the police should be telling you what's happening at least.If you want to take private action, then a legal firm may be able to help trace the driver of the vehicle that hit your son and help pursue further action.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 27-Oct-14 @ 10:41 AM
My son was involved in taking "evasive action" on his motorbike at roundabout in Norwich.Car driver pulled out onto roundabout in front of him.Whilst he cant remember if he hit the back end of the car he ended up left in the road.Car driver stopped asked if he was ok then said she would park up and come back......she didn't.My boy had to have paramedic and the police attended to.He did take her reg plate tho - good lad!To date, the police have interviewed my son and a witness and presumably the third party.To date we don't know if the third party is being prosecuted or not. We've been left with a broken motorbike and "ambulance chasers" calling.Strangely the CCTV footage of the roundabout" doesn't record and wasn't pointing in the right direction" at the time of impact but does show my son pushing the bike off the road...WRONG..it was a member of the public... Im asking for help here please as his insurance co is itching to get hold of his bike - not happening - ambulance chasers wanting to chase PI and all we want is answers.
Tiddles - 23-Oct-14 @ 10:56 PM
@mr.F. I think you have to take them yourself as they may want to compare your likeness with the photo on your driving licence etc. Also they will want you to be present if there are any anomalies in your documentation. That said, I cannot find anything that says it HAS to be you.
Fickle - 17-Jun-14 @ 11:59 AM
I was involved in a traffic incident with another vehicle . The police were near by and quick to respond. No one was injured, and myself and other gentleman were not injured and have swapped insurance details. Informed by policeman that we need to show documents at station within 7days of accident . Can a third party (family member) take documents to station for me?
Mr.f - 15-Jun-14 @ 9:18 PM
VCery informative notes. I suggest that all the people should read this article and do the needful what is in this article.
TAAF - 21-Apr-12 @ 10:01 AM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments