Saturday 15 May 2010

Crap policing in Surrey

The slogan of Surrey police is

with you, making Surrey safer

Ha bloody ha.

Archie McIlveen, 75, died when he was struck by a Mondeo driven at more than twice the speed limit by Pc John Wright as he answered a 999 call. The retired painter and decorator had spent the day babysitting his son Andrew's two young children and was on his way to catch a train home to Islington at about 7pm, when he was hit as he crossed a 40mph stretch of Esher Road in Hersham, Surrey.

Wright – who was the only eyewitness – claimed that Mr McIlveen had been walking on the opposite pavement and crossed onto the central reservation and then into his carriageway. He said he was either walking fast or jogging and had no time to react.

[A 75-year-old jogging?]

The jury was told that he had accelerated to a speed of 93mph when he was just 37 metres away from the fit and healthy grandfather.

Mr McIlveen, from Islington, north London, was pronounced dead at the scene. The massive impact of the collision had torn off his legs and sent his body hurtling down the road

Fellow police officers gave evidence on behalf of PC Wright:

The court heard from PC Wright's solicitor, Robin Sellers, that three police driving instructors had done test runs and agreed they would not have been able to avoid Mr McIlveen.


expert witness for the defence, Douglas Bolton, said that there would have been "no opportunity whatsoever" for PC Wright to have done anything to prevent the collision.

Mr Bolton, an independent forensic accident investigator and a retired police officer, said that Mr McIlveen should have seen the police car’s lights flashing and the sirens sounding.

"When Mr McIlveen stepped off the central reservation, the car was somewhere between 40m and 60m away," he said.

The uncertainty in that statement indicates that the police car had no video camera installed or running at the time of the collision which would have provided an objective and independent record of the circumstances of this fatal collision.

The obvious question is why would anyone deliberately choose to walk out in front of a police car coming at a very high speed with its lights on perhaps only 40 metres away? There is no suggestion that the dead pedestrian had been drinking.

There are two interesting aspects of this case. The first is that PC Wright is one of the best drivers that Surrey police have:

The constable, who was the only officer from Esher’s targeted patrol team with the more advanced grade 3 driving training.

The other is that he has previous

convictions for speeding and driving while using a mobile

In other words, a man who isn’t fit to be in the police force and who should never have been allowed near a car when on police service.

If Surrey’s Chief Constable Mark Rowley had any professional standards at all, he’d get rid of cops with motoring convictions. They certainly shouldn't be allowed to drive cars. And if cops knew that was a condition of their employment they might then choose to obey road traffic law when driving off-duty.

In a final insult to the family of the dead man, the judge oozed sympathy for the killer:

Judge Gordon Risius said of the November 2008 accident in Esher, Surrey, that he hoped PC Wright, 40, would be able to "put this terrible tragedy behind him, difficult as that will be".