PIRC: Officers pursued stolen car without authorisation

A report by the Police Investigations & Review Commissioner (PIRC) has found that officers who pursued a stolen car before it was involved in a high speed collision were not trained or authorised to do so.

The one mile pursuit, which took place in the early hours of Thursday 22 November 2018 between Cleland and Newmains, ended when the car hit a crash barrier, leaving the road and rolling upside down. The driver was seriously injured and required hospital treatment.

The car involved in the incident was reported stolen from Wishaw shortly after 0300 hours by a man who was reported to be drunk. It was then spotted by the officers, who were on patrol on the A73, at a roundabout in Bellside, Cleland. The officers activated the marked police car’s blue lights, indicating the driver to stop, but he drove off at high speed towards Newmains. The officers followed with the car’s blue lights activated, constituting a ‘pursuit’ within Police Scotland’s procedures.

The PIRC report found that one of the officers told the area control room, in error, that he was a ‘standard driver’, meaning he was trained to engage in a vehicle pursuit. The officer was actually a ‘basic driver’, meaning he was not trained to engage in a pursuit.

The incident was referred to the PIRC by Police Scotland for independent investigation on 22 November 2018. The investigation examined the actions of the officers involved in the pursuit. The man was charged and later convicted.

The PIRC report recommended that the two officers involved in the incident receive refresher driver training, with a particular emphasis on the roles and responsibilities of vehicle pursuits.