Woman killed by Bromley police car died due to failure in Met Police communication

Ms Louise Bailey, 57, was run over on Farnborough Common in Bromley on August 1, 2019, while running for a bus at the Crofton Road junction
Ms Louise Bailey, 57, was run over on Farnborough Common in Bromley on August 1, 2019, while running for a bus at the Crofton Road junction

A woman killed by a police car in South London died due to a failure in Met Police communication, according to a new report.

Ms Louise Bailey, 57, was run over on Farnborough Common in Bromley on August 1, 2019, while running for a bus at the Crofton Road junction.

While crossing the busy road, she walked out from behind a bus in front of the speeding police car.

She died in hospital the next morning after being rushed from the scene of the crash by air ambulance.

A prevention of future deaths report stated said the police car was driving on the opposite side of the road to avoid traffic before hitting Ms Bailey, who was not visible before she stepped out into the road.

The report said that the officer driving the police car was responding to a call from another officer chasing a suspected shoplifter.

Several other officers were also rushing to the scene.

The coroner said that the driver and operator had not considered whether other units were closer to the officers who needed help.

In the report, the coroner said: “My concern is that the current system and training does not facilitate drivers being provided with the information they need to answer the question ‘are other units closer?’ which means they are unable to complete a full risk assessment.”

In a response letter to the report, a representative from the National Police Chiefs’ Council and College of Policing said: “We are very sorry to read of the circumstances of Ms Bailey’s death.

"Our sympathies are with her family and friends and we share your commitment to addressing the issues that contributed to her untimely loss.

“Roadcraft [a handbook] is not the definitive document for police policy. It is owned and run by a non-police organisation Police Foundation and is used by many emergency services around the world.

"It is used primarily for driver training and not for force policy.

“In the event that officers wish to support their colleagues when a call for assistance is made it is difficult to know how many resources will be required until that incident is under control.

"It will therefore be for the officers being assigned/assigning themselves to assess the risk, and dispatchers within control rooms to manage their resources appropriately.”

An inquest into Ms Bailey’s death in 2019 found that the event was a “sad and tragic accident”, but the jury’s conclusion was that the lack of communication by the police officer was not a contributing factor to her death.

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