Police Watchdog Says Deaths Involving Patrol Cars "Rare" After Two West Midlands Killed In Separate Incidents

26 January 2019, 09:28

Holly Burke Jessie Whitehead

The police watchdog has said the deaths of four people in incidents involving patrol cars "will be of concern" but fatalities and serious injuries in pursuits are "thankfully rare".

An off-duty police community support officer, an 18-year-old student and a 26-year-old refugee were among those who died in four separate incidents in the last week.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is investigating the incidents individually and will look at the circumstances surrounding each one, as well as whether the police drivers were suitably trained and followed procedures.

PCSO Holly Burke, 28, was fatally injured by an alleged hit-and-run driver who struck her car while being chased by police in the West Midlands on Tuesday.

The same day, a 26-year-old refugee from Eritrea died after being hit by a police car responding to a 999 call in east London.

Jessie Whitehead, 74, was riding a mobility scooter when she was hit by a marked squad car as it responded to an emergency in Bedworth, Warwickshire, on Wednesday.

And Paul Radcliffe, 18, was killed by a car which had failed to stop for police in Oadby, Leicestershire, on January 19.

IOPC deputy director-general Ian Todd said: "The death of even one person on the roads, let alone four in such a short space of time, will be of concern.

"While there has been a spate of road traffic fatalities over the past week, deaths and serious injuries following pursuits and emergency responses are thankfully rare in comparison to the large number of such incidents police are involved in on a daily basis."

The investigations will look at the driving of the patrol cars among other factors.

Mr Todd added: "We will also look to see if there are changes and improvements which can be made to those procedures to reduce the risks of deaths and serious injuries in the future."