21/12/2018

Ombudsman: Police Failed To Investigate Crash Between Car And Cyclist

The Police Ombudsman's office has found that officers failed to properly investigate a crash which left a cyclist hospitalised for five days.

The man was hit by a car in Glengormley, County Antrim, while cycling to work on 11 September 2018.

He has since lodged a complaint, alleging that police failings were down to him being a foreign national, despite having lived in Northern Ireland for many years.

The complainant also said that officers failed to identify additional witnesses who were at the scene of the crash, after he disputed the account of the one individual who gave an account.

When formally interviewed as part of the Ombudsman's review, the constable in question said he had spoken to the injured cyclist in the back of the ambulance and had breathalysed the driver, who tested negative for alcohol.

The officer claimed he had checked for CCTV area in the area by looking around nearby buildings, but did not notice any cameras.

He confirmed that he did not speak to the witness at the time of the incident and had not made an entry in his notebook regarding his attendance at the scene.
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The constable also admitted that he had not made any enquiries in the three weeks following the accident on September 11.

The PSNI officer was due to speak to the witness on 05 October, but a statement was never documented. When questioned about this, he stated it was likely due to work commitments.

Months later, the statement was eventually taken from the witness.

The officer also said that he did not think it was necessary to speak to the injured man and denied treating the case differently because of the man's nationality.

However, Police Ombudsman staff found that the police officer should have spoken to the injured cyclist and obtained his account of events given the fact that he had disputed the original witness statement.

The officer should also have updated the man on the investigation and advised him of the final outcome.

His failure to accurately record the investigative queries he claimed to have carried out was also deemed a disciplinary matter by Police Ombudsman staff who made appropriate disciplinary recommendations to the PSNI. These have since been acted on.

There was no evidence to support the claim that the manner in which the collision was investigated was influenced by the injured man's nationality.



(JG/CM)

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