January 13, 2023 10.30 am This story is over 15 months old

Watchdog findings over fatal police pursuit in Skegness

A Lincolnshire Police constable was given a written warning

A Lincolnshire Police constable already had a written warning as he “continued to pursue another vehicle at high speed” until just before a fatal crash, despite the officer being not trained to do so and told it was not authorised.

It was alleged that on March 4, 2022, PC Jared Brereton was driving a marked police car in Skegness, with PC Phoebe Chambers in the front passenger seat. At 11pm that night they saw a red Volkswagen Scirocco being driven towards them on Lumley Road.

At around 11.14pm the VW Scirocco left the road and collided with a tree. The driver – Kyle Johnson, 25 – was the only occupant of the vehicle and was sadly pronounced dead at the scene.

Lincolnshire Police said that due to the manner of the drive, the vehicle was requested to stop and failed to do so. PC Brereton was not authorised to pursue vehicles, but it was alleged that he did so.

A misconduct hearing was held between January 4 and 6, and then resumed again on Thursday, January 12, which took place at Lincolnshire Police Headquarters in Nettleham.

IOPC investigation

The four-day hearing was held before an independently chaired panel and was organised by the force following a direction from the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

The IOPC’s five-month investigation began following a referral from the force after the incident. Evidence gathered by IOPC investigators found that PC Brereton was not trained to carry out pursuits and moments after he activated the car’s lights and siren, the force control room supervisor instructed him not to continue.

However, telematic data from the police vehicle, and CCTV footage, indicated that it continued at speeds of between 92 and 102mph for 39 seconds, and the lights/siren were deactivated only moments before the collision.

The IOPC’s investigation included reviewing police radio transmissions, telematic data from the police vehicle involved, and analysing CCTV footage from along the route of the pursuit. It also reviewed accounts provided by PCs Brereton and Chambers immediately after the incident and both were also interviewed separately by the IOPC’s investigators.

Misconduct hearing outcome

It was alleged that PC Brereton breached the following standards of professional behaviour:

  • Orders and instructions
  • Duties and responsibilities
  • Discreditable conduct
  • Honesty and integrity

The panel found PC Brereton breached the standards of professional behaviour in respect of orders and instructions and duties and responsibilities, and the breach amounted to gross misconduct.

They found he had not breached the standards in respect of discreditable conduct or honesty and integrity.

It was alleged that PC Chambers breached the following standards of professional behaviour:

  • Challenging and reporting improper conduct
  • Discreditable conduct
  • Honesty and integrity

Gross misconduct was not proven against her after she had been accused of failing to challenge or report PC Brereton’s actions despite knowing authority for the pursuit had not been given.

The panel found that PC Chambers had not breached the standards of professional behaviour on all counts.

Derrick Campbell, IOPC Regional Director, said: “Our thoughts and sympathies are with Mr Johnson’s family at this difficult time for them.

“It was apparent from the evidence we gathered that PC Brereton knew that following the instruction not to pursue he should have followed policy by deactivating his emergency equipment, pulling off the road and going in a different direction.

“Despite the instruction PC Brereton continued to pursue at high speed until just before the tragic collision. The disciplinary panel found gross misconduct proven and the final written warning will stay on his record for two years.”

MyLocal Lincolnshire is the new home of The Lincolnite. Download the app now