Police officer given management advice after representation at gross misconduct hearing

Wed, 15 May 2019

A police officer who was involved in a road traffic collision, while responding to an emergency call was retained after a misconduct hearing directed by the Independent Office for Police Complaints [‘IOPC’]. He was represented by Colin Banham from No5 Barristers’ Chambers.

The panel heard that, prior to the collision, PC Blowers was driving a marked vehicle at speeds estimated to be in excess of 90mph on a road with a 60mph speed limit. In the wet conditions he lost control of the car and collided with two other vehicles. PC Blowers, his colleague and a taxi driver all suffered serious injuries in the crash on the A4140 near Wallingford on the 2nd of January 2018.

Thames Valley Police policy allows Standard Response level drivers to exceed the designated speed limit by up to 20mph, expect them to drive both safely and according to the prevailing conditions.

The hearing heard from an expert who said the vehicle would have aquaplaned even if it had been driven within the recommended speeds and several character witnesses told the hearing PC Blower was a “credit to the police service” who goes “above and beyond” what is required.

After the finding, Mr Banham outlined the officer’s ambition to become a firearms officer. He also mitigated on the basis that the officer had treated the incident and subsequent proceedings as a chance to learn in order to serve the public better. In relation to the allegation he added that the officer was responding to colleagues who were dealing with an aggressive male, were in distress and the urgency of the situation led him to breach the policy. He argued that this was out of character for PC Blowers, who was otherwise an exceptional officer.

 The panel chairman, Mr Harry Ireland, returning the outcome of the panel, stated: "This was a single episode resulting from a misjudgement, one that was taken for a legitimate police purpose.”

"It has been demonstrated that [PC Blowers] is a highly effective and diligent officer."

The panel recorded a finding of misconduct, and minor disciplinary action was handed down in the form of “management advice”.

 To read more on this story please visit: https://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/17630187.misconduct-hearing-pc-james-blowers-caused-crash-near-wallingford/

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