Police Officer Disciplined For Failing To Investigate Collision

A police officer has been disciplined after she failed to investigate a traffic accident in Coleraine because she did not realise there had been a collision, a Police Ombudsman investigation has confirmed.

The officer failed to investigate a collision between a motorcyclist and a van driver, because she believed the biker had simply lost control and fallen off while braking to avoid the other vehicle.

The collision happened last November.

The motorcyclist sustained injuries requiring hospital treatment and later lodged a complaint with the Police Ombudsman's Office about the police investigation of the incident.

He complained that police had failed to record it as a collision resulting in serious injuries, had been sarcastic towards him, and had failed to take breath tests from both parties.

He also said police failed to contact him afterwards to get his account or find out about the extent of his injuries, and accused them of 'fobbing him off' when he raised his concerns.

When interviewed by a Police Ombudsman investigator, the investigating police officer said she had not been informed that the two vehicles had collided, and therefore believed it was a matter for both parties' insurance companies to sort out, rather than for a police investigation.

The officer said she had not been told that there had been a collision.

She accepted that while she had taken a breath test from the van driver, she had not done so from the motorcyclist as she had not considered it necessary.

She also stated that she had returned some items to the motorcyclist's wife at the hospital after the collision, but said that she had not spoken to him as he was being treated at the time, and made no further contact to check on his condition.

A statement was also obtained from the van driver, who said he was aware there had been a collision and believed police at the scene had been told. Another police officer confirmed that he had been told at the scene that there had been a collision.

Photographs retrieved from police, taken some weeks after the collision, also showed that the van had sustained some minor impact damage.

The Police Ombudsman recommended that the officer should be disciplined for failing to investigate the collision, and the PSNI has since implemented the recommendation.

The officer's supervisor was also disciplined after the investigation found that some comments he had made during a meeting with the motorcyclist were not clear or accurate.

The investigation concluded, however, that there was insufficient evidence that police had been sarcastic to the motorcyclist, or that officers had tried to fob him off.

The collision has been reinvestigated by the police, resulting in the van driver being convicted of a driving offence.


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

04 August 2022
Man Arrested And Puppies Seized In Organised Crime Investigation
A 44-year-old man has been arrested and seized 57 puppies, three adult dogs and one cat at Belfast Harbour Estate in an operation investigating organised crime.
06 August 2014
Police Vehicle Contracts Arrest - Man Released
A 54-year-old member of police staff who was arrested in County Antrim as part of ongoing investigations into the awarding of vehicle contracts has been released. The man was arrested on suspicion of misconduct in public office and has been taken to a police station in Belfast for questioning.
28 March 2007
House of Lords vote for ‘50/50’ police force
The House of Lords has renewed the 50/50 recruitment rule for the PSNI by a majority of 44. It puts into practice a recommendation made in 1999 by Lord Patten that the local police force should be split evenly between Catholics and Protestants. The result of the vote was 141 to 97.
23 June 2016
Police Officers Disciplined For Failing To Tell Doctor About Woman's Head Injuries
Two police officers have been disciplined after they failed to let their colleagues and a police doctor know that a woman had sustained a head injury, a Police Ombudsman investigation has concluded. The woman died from bleeding to the brain on 24 February 2014, the day after she suffered the injury.
15 May 2015
Man's Body Recovered From Bangor Marina
Police have launched an investigation after the body of a man was recovered from Bangor Marina on Wednesday, 13 May. Police received a report that a man had entered the water shortly after 10.15am. Emergency services and police attended the scene and the body was recovered from the water. Police are not treating the death as suspicious.