A serving police officer has been found guilty of gross misconduct after ignoring orders and going on a police chase at 102mph which culminated in a man’s death.
Pc Jared Brereton, of Lincolnshire Police, along with passenger, Pc Phoebe Chambers, tailed 25-year-old Kyle Johnson near Skegness at high speed – despite being told not to continue the chase and not being trained to do so – before Mr Johnson crashed into a tree off the A52 just after 11pm on March 4 last year.
A five-month investigation by the police watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), found that footage and vehicle data showed Pc Brereton travelled at between 92 and 102mph for 39 seconds, only turning off the marked car’s lights and sirens when he realised Mr Johnson had crashed.
Following a four-day hearing at Lincolnshire Police HQ in Nettleham, Pc Brereton was found by an independent panel to have breached the standards of professional behaviour in respect of orders and instructions, and duties and responsibilities.
He was cleared of breaching standards in relation to discreditable conduct and honesty and integrity, with the BBC reporting that David Tyme, the legally qualified chairman, made it clear that his actions did not cause Mr Johnson to crash.
In a statement released on January 12, the force said Pc Brereton had been given a final written warning after the breaches were found to amount to gross misconduct.
Pc Chambers was cleared of three alleged breaches of standards of professional behaviour, including an accusation that she had failed to challenge or report the incident despite knowing the pursuit was unauthorised.
Derrick Campbell, regional director for the IOPC, 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.”
According to the BBC, a representative for Lincolnshire Police told the hearing that Mr Johnson’s family, who had met both Pc Brereton and Pc Chambers, no longer felt the officers were responsible for the death and did not wish to see either dismissed.