Police not responsible for motorcycle crash

An independent investigation has found that police officers were not to blame for the serious injuries sustained by a disqualified motorcyclist who collided with a tree.

Feb 12, 2020
By Paul Jacques

When Police Scotland officers in Aberdeen came across the 28-year-old man just after midnight on June 26, 2019, they instructed him to stop but he failed to do so. He and his pillion passenger were then pursued for 20 minutes around various areas of the city.

As the man drove along the cycle path of the disused Old Deeside railway line, he was confronted by four officers standing across the track. The man swerved, avoiding the officers but losing control of the motorcycle and colliding with the tree.

A report by the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) has concluded “the police responded properly and proportionately to the incident”.

It added that the motorcyclist “had ample opportunity prior to the crash to stop but chose not to do so” and the man’s “recklessness and loss of control was considered the major contributory factor to the collision and serious injuries he sustained”.

The PIRC said the pursuit of both men and the motorcycle was “correctly authorised” by the area control room having met the criteria for a vehicle pursuit.

During the pursuit, officers activated blue lights and sirens in an attempt to bring the motorcycle to a stop. However, the driver continued to drive dangerously, significantly exceeding the speed limit on numerous occasions.

At the time of the incident the man was a disqualified driver and had been disqualified from driving on numerous previous occasions.

The investigation also found that both men had removed their crash helmets shortly before the incident, presumably to deter police from attempting to stop them.

Both men were arrested at the crash scene. The 28- year-old man had significant facial and head injuries while the pillion passenger was uninjured. An ambulance was summoned and the injured man was taken to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

“Initially, the man’s injuries were considered life threatening. However, he recovered sufficiently that on July 7, 2019, and, against medical advice, he discharged himself from hospital. The 28-year-old man was later convicted,” said the PIRC.

Police Scotland referred the incident to the PIRC on June 26, 2019.

PIRC investigators visited the incident scene, interviewed the man and the pillion passenger, viewed relevant CCTV footage, obtained statements from police officers, police staff, medical staff and members of the public and seized and examined command and control (STORM) logs, telephone and Airwave recordings, briefing papers, police notebooks, records from police systems and Police Scotland’s collision investigation report.

“The investigation’s conclusions were submitted to Police Scotland in October 2019 and, following the conclusion of criminal proceedings, details of the incident can now be published,” said the PIRC.

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