Police officers who pursued a drunk driver through Leyland were breaking constabulary protocol by chasing him.
Two of the three officers who followed Geoffrey Gill during a high-speed chase in the dead of the night were not trained in the ‘high risk activity’ of pursuit, it has emerged.
Mr Gill died from his injuries after smashing into a house on Longmeanygate in April this year, and an inquest held last week raised concerns over the force’s duty to protect the public.
The hearing found two of the three officers on duty were not technically allowed to follow him after they spotted him driving at speed and on the wrong side of the road.
The breach of constabulary protocol raised serious questions over what poses more risk to members of the public – an unqualified police driver taking chase, or allowing a potentially dangerous driver to get away?
Senior coroner Dr James Adeley claimed the constabulary’s guidance ‘makes no sense whatsoever’ if officers are breaking policy by doing ‘what they think is right’.
Lancashire’s chief inspector for roads policing, Debbie Howard said: “The guidance states that any officer involved in pursuit must have received the relevant training.”
“If you don’t pursue, it can increase the risk to the public,” she admitted. “But it depends on the circumstances.
“We planned to review the policy in 12 months. But it can be reviewed sooner.”
Mr Gill crashed his car after being followed by a trained driver for a short amount of time, who took over from the other two officers who followed him initially.
Dr Adeley said: “Mr Gill would have just driven off if police had carried out protocol. If the crash had occurred prior to the involvement of the trained pursuit driver, this would have been a completely different inquest altogether.
“If you are following national guidance (with Lancashire protocol) than I am not going to interfere, but I will be keeping an eye on this.
“It seems to me you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t.”
He said the issues didn’t affect the outcome of the inquest, and Insp Howard confirmed the two officers would not be disciplined.
- For the full version of this story, see this week’s Leyland Guardian.