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HTA View on Police Escorts

19 Feb 2024 09:13 | Anonymous

It has recently come to the attention of the HTA that several Police forces appear to have changed their position on the requirements for such loads to be escorted and are subsequently charging operators for the service.  This can be challenged.

We should like to remind you that there is no legislation in England & Wales that covers Police escorting practice, nor for that matter self/private escorting, there is provision for an attendant to be present for the whole of the journey for any vehicle/combination or load type that fulfils the criteria under which set of regs an abnormal load move takes place, be it C&U or STGO.  Custom and practice of the in-cab attendant has migrated to an accompanying private/self-escort.  The current guidance to Police is to “encourage hauliers to use self or private escorts”.

After an abnormal load notification is submitted (to the Police) any constabulary that indicate a Police escort is required in the interest of road safety, are then obliged to provide that service without cost to the notifying operator as a normal operational Policing duty.  There may be time to allow for the constabulary in question to arrange suitable resources, and they may elect to dictate the time, date of the move, under current guidance the time allowed is a minimum of 8 days to arrange.

If, after conducting your own risk assessment and route survey, there is a requirement for Police escort to stop/direct traffic or to assist in what would normally be an unlawful manoeuvre on the public road (wrong siding a roundabout for example) then this would need to be requested by the notifying operator as a Special Police Service (SPS) which is chargeable.  Where a load is required to negotiate a single ‘pinch point’ on a route that would otherwise not be deemed to require an escort, police assistance may be provided without charge, subject to availability.

The question of chargeable and non-chargeable Police services has been clarified by caselaw.

We encourage all operators and self escorters to comply with the National Highways Agency/ACPO Code of Practice, although this a voluntary code and can only be used for evidential purposes in the event of an incident occurring, it is evidence of good practice and a standard to which the associations subscribe to.

The Association continues dialogue both directly and as part of a wider Abloads working group (incl the HTA SAbLE project), with individual Police Officers, Police Groups/Constabularies and The National Police Chiefs Council to the betterment and safety of the industry.

You will find links to the current Abnormal Load Police guidance document along with National highways CoP for self-escorting on our Info page.

The Association and its committee are here to advise and support you, any questions you may have relating to this topic, can be directed in the first instance to  Please do bear in mind we are a fully voluntary committee and there may be a delay in a response to your question.

The Heavy Transport Association,
The White House, High Street,
Tattenhall, Chester, Cheshire CH3 9PX

t: +44 (0)1829 773 104