Spies are set to be allowed to break the speed limit in cases of “national security emergency”, under changes to UK motoring laws which will be announced this week.
Officers with MI5 and MI6 will soon have the same legal right to go through red lights, over zebra crossings and ignore road markings as the emergency services, if they can prove that national security was at stake.
Secret agents will still be required to drive in a “responsible manner”, however, and be subject to the same checks under the revised Road Safety Act as police, ambulance and fire service drivers. They will also be required to take a course in high-speed driving.
“This is a good commonsense move that will apply to people who perform vital services in difficult circumstances,” a Whitehall source told the Sunday Times. “It will help save lives and make Britain a more secure place.”
Under the new proposals to be announced tomorrow, vehicles carrying organs for transplant operations, bomb disposal units, mountain rescue teams, HMRC and UK Border Agency officials are all likely to be included in the changes.
They come after a 2012 Department for Transport consultation paper found 93 per cent of respondents agreed speeding exemptions should apply to those driving for “the protection of life and limb or national security”.