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Police failed to properly investigate crash which left cyclist in hospital for five days

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The Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman's Office.

The Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman's Office.

The Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman's Office.

Police failed to properly investigate a crash which left a cyclist in hospital for five days, the Police Ombudsman found.

The man was hit by a car in Glengormley, Co Antrim, on his way to work on September 11. He said police failings were down to him being a foreign national, however, the police watchdog did not find evidence to substantiate the allegation.

He said that, despite suffering serious injuries, he was not interviewed by police and was not told the outcome of their investigation.

The cyclist also disputed the account a witness of the accident gave to the police and complained that police failed to identify additional witnesses at the scene.

On being formally interviewed by Police Ombudsman investigators, the police investigating officer said he had spoken to the injured cyclist when he was in the back of the ambulance and had breathalysed the driver, who tested negative for alcohol.

The officer said he had checked for CCTV in the area by looking around nearby buildings but could not see any cameras and confirmed that he did not speak to the witness at the time of the incident.

He also did not make an entry in his notebook regarding his attendance at the scene and admitted that he had not made any enquiries in the three weeks following the accident.

Police documentation showed that the officer was due to speak to the witness on October 5 but this statement was not recorded.

When questioned by investigators as to why, he said that it was "probably" due to other work commitments which meant he could not get out to meet the witness.

The statement was eventually taken four months after the accident.

The officer also said that he did not think it was necessary to speak to the injured man and denied treating the case differently because of the man’s nationality.

Police Ombudsman staff, however, found that the police officer should have spoken to the injured cyclist and obtained his account of events, as he had disputed the witness account.

The officer should also have updated the man on the investigation and advised him of the final outcome.

His failure to accurately record the investigative queries he claimed to have carried out was also deemed a disciplinary matter by Police Ombudsman staff, who made disciplinary recommendations to the PSNI which have been acted on.

The Police Ombudsman's office said there was no evidence to support the man’s claim that the investigation was influenced by his nationality.

Belfast Telegraph


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