20/02/2019

Police Officer Cleared Of Failing To Investigate Cavehill Trail Traps

A PSNI officer probing the sabotage of Cavehill cycling and walking trails has been cleared of alleged failings on the case.

The Police Ombudsman was asked to assess the constable's conduct after he was accused of failing to adequately investigate the placing of obstacles on mountain bike paths, and also faced allegations of bias and "inappropriate disclosures of information" by the complainant.

The claim arose amid wider disagreements between mountain bikers and walkers in the north Belfast park and concerns over the safety of both groups.

The watchdog examined the complaint that the officer had not properly or objectively investigated reports of sabotaged trails, and discovered footage of a number of people placing logs and other items on the mountain trails.

The captured footage was submitted to police who took "appropriate action", the ombudsman concluded on Tuesday 19 February.
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Police records showed that the constable in question had spoken to witnesses, recorded statements and viewed the relevant footage. He also sought advice from the Public Prosecution Service and legal services to ascertain if any offences had been committed and followed through on that advice.

Police Ombudsman staff also accessed records of a meeting during which the police officer discussed the issues in the park. They found that the officer had raised public safety concerns about the trails being used by mountain bikers and walkers at the same time but no misconduct was identified.

As no failings were identified in the investigation, the case was closed.

A number of additional allegations, which included the officer attending the meeting debating the issue of mountain biking in the area and his interpretation of bike speeds, were found to be outside the remit of the Police Ombudsman.



(JG/MH)

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