Police Scotland told to strengthen pursuit policy

The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) has recommended Police Scotland reinforces its policy and procedure regarding police pursuits following a chase that led to three people being injured.

Jun 27, 2018
By Joe Shine

A report into the incident, published on Wednesday (June 27), states that Area Control Room (ACR) staff instructed the two officers that a pursuit was not authorised.

On the second occasion, the ACR staff member advised the police driver that he could “monitor” the stolen car from a distance, which the officer interpreted to mean he could follow the car until traffic officers were directed to the incident.

The PIRC also recommended that Police Scotland considers introducing standardised terminology for ACR staff when instructing officers not to undertake vehicle pursuits.

On July 25 last year, Police Scotland received a report at around 7.22am that two cars had been stolen overnight from the driveway of a house in the Carfin area of Lanarkshire.

Intelligence suggested that the suspects for the thefts were local and the stolen cars may be driving towards Holytown.

At an early stage, the ACR sergeant decided that he would not authorise any spontaneous pursuit of either car – an instruction that was passed by radio onto officers.

At around 11.10am, two officers on patrol spotted one of the stolen vehicles in Holytown and reported the sighting to the ACR. They were told again that ‘no pursuit was authorised’.

Despite this, the driver continued pursuing the stolen car for about 0.4 miles before it collided with a parked car and another car being driven in Dornoch Road, injuring three of the occupants.

The PIRC suggested that the driver receives further training in respect of vehicle pursuit policy and guidance.

It also found claims from the police officers that they did not engage in a pursuit were contradicted by statements from independent witnesses.

A spokesperson for the PIRC said: “The actions of the police driver in pursuing the stolen car influenced the behaviour of the driver and contributed to the collision and subsequent injuries to those travelling in one of the vehicles.

“A series of recommendations have been provided to Police Scotland in relation to vehicle pursuits to mitigate against a similar incident happening again.”

The driver of the stolen car was arrested and charged with a number of offences. He was sentenced to a 100-hour community payback order and fined £700 in January.

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