Thu, 13 Feb 2020
A SPEEDING police motorcyclist from Thatcham who died in a crash which killed another road user did nothing wrong, an independent investigation has stated.
But the police watchdog IOPC (The Independent Office for Police Conduct) did find "apparent confusion around police exemptions regarding speed being applied by officers."
Last month a Reading Crown Court jury cleared 35-year-old Agne Jasulaitiene of causing the death of Pc James Dixon and her passenger, 91-year-old Gladys Goodwin.
The court had heard how Pc Dixon, who lived in Thatcham with his wife Samantha and was based at Loddon Valley Police Station, died at the scene on the A4 at Hare Hatch, near Twyford, on December 5, 2017.
His motorcycle had been travelling at nearly twice the 50mph speed limit, taking part in a covert surveillance exercise, when Ms Jasulaitiene’s Toyota Aygo pulled out in front of him.
During her trial, where she appeared on two charges of causing death by careless driving, Ms Jasulaitiene told jurors she had taken every care at the junction and checked her mirrors plus the road ahead before making the fatal turn.
Ian Bridge, defending, told jurors: “Coming in the other direction on a surveillance motorbike designed not to be seen was a police officer travelling at more than twice the (50mph) speed limit on that road."
That top speed was later revised down to 97mph.
Jurors cleared Ms Jasulaitiene of both charges.
The IOPC report, released today (Thursday), states: "We identified an apparent confusion around police exemptions regarding speed being applied by officers. All those involved in training exercises need to have a common understanding of the parameters that impact on risk assessments and safety."
“We found that although the training exercise PC Dixon was taking part in did adhere to policy and procedures, improvements could be made to ensure all officers are aware of when speed exemptions are applicable or not.
"Our investigation found no indication any police officer behaved in a manner that would justify the bringing of disciplinary proceedings or had committed a criminal offence."
Thames Valley Police released the following statement: "Following these tragic circumstances a review by Thames Valley Police began immediately.
"As is right and proper, evaluation of this incident has been ongoing and any way to improve risk assessments and current policies, despite actions on the day being in line with them, have been established and are welcomed to improve the safety of our officers and staff, our partners and the wider community.
"Further, as has been established by the report from the Independent Office for Police Conduct, there was no indication any police officer behaved in a manner that would justify the bringing of disciplinary proceedings or had committed a criminal offence. It also found the risk assessments on that day were carried out in line with policy.
"Any learning and improvements is being communicated nationally."
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