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Policeman with diabetes allowed to drive again

The first officer with insulin controlled diabetes has been permitted to drive emergency response vehicles in the Metropolitan Police Service (MET).

Ian Ash had been driving response vehicles for over 10 years but, after moving onto insulin to control his Type 2 diabetes, the force banned him from all driving duties.

It took over three years to fight the ban and for Ian to have his driving duties reinstated. Finally he was allowed an individual assessment at the police driving school last month and was given his Level 1 Advanced driver licence back.

Many forces still enforce blanket bans preventing officers with diabetes carrying out a variety of duties. However, following the extension of the Disability Discrimination Act in October 2004, all forces should now assess officers on an individual basis to see if they are able to continue carrying out their duties.

"This is really great news," said Penny Mordaunt, Director of Campaigning at Diabetes UK.  "The MET was one of the first forces in the UK to remove their blanket bans on response driving."

"People with diabetes are all different and they manage their condition differently. There is no reason why officers with well controlled diabetes should not be able to carry out the same duties as anyone else. We hope that other forces follow this example of good practice."

Ian Ash said, "It has taken a while to get reinstated, but it was worth the perseverance.

"It is not fair for people with diabetes to be discriminated against. I feel for anyone who gets automatically taken off duties without an assessment and I would urge them to challenge the decision."

In June 2005, Diabetes UK, the Disability Rights Commission, the National Police Diabetic Association and the National Disabled Police Association launched 'Guidance for the Recruitment and Employment of Police Officers with Diabetes'.

This was produced to help forces achieve best practice on the recruitment of retention of people with diabetes.

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