Belfast Telegraph

Two police officers disciplined over investigation failings

Two police officers have been disciplined after the Police Ombudsman found failings in how they investigated an incident which left a teenage boy fighting for his life.

The boy suffered serious blood loss and life changing injuries after severing an artery on a plate glass window in County Antrim in 2011.

Photographs of the scene were lost and text messages were not fully examined by an investigating officer.

His mother lodged a complaint with the Police Ombudsman's Office several years later, alleging that police had failed to properly investigate whether her son had been deliberately pushed through the window.

The initial 999 call made by one of the five friends he had been with at the time of the incident indicated that he had been pushed through the window.

However, a second 999 call several minutes later reported that he had kicked it.

His mother expressed concern that the police investigation had been closed down after two weeks, despite her son denying kicking the window and remembering being pushed.

She also alleged that police had failed to ensure his phone was properly examined and may have missed evidence of why he might have been pushed.

She said the size of the hole in the window was more consistent with her son having been pushed through it, rather than having kicked it.

The investigating police officer accepted that the case had been quickly suspended pending new evidence.

However, he said he had done so only after making a series of enquiries which satisfied him that there were no issues of concern requiring further investigation.

The Ombudsman's office said there was only a limited examination of text messages exchanged between boys who had been at the scene.

The investigator concluded that the examination should have covered a broader time-frame to check for evidence of why the boy might have been pushed or whether the boys had conferred over their accounts.

The Ombudsman's office said photographs of the scene were lost and there was no forensic examination of the window to establish whether damage caused to it was consistent with the boy having been pushed through it,

The watchdog said the officer should have gone to the scene on the night of the incident, given the early indication that the boy had been pushed, and he should have made greater efforts to interview the injured boy - despite the officer's contention that the boy's mother did not wish him to be interviewed, and the fact his injuries could cause him to become confused.


From Belfast Telegraph