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PCC questions Chief Constable about hit-and-run incident

Following extensive coverage from the local media concerning two Norfolk Constabulary officers involved in a hit-and-run incident on 5 March 2022, the PCC’s Accountability Meeting focused on the investigation and the action taken by Norfolk’s Chief Constable, Paul Sanford.

The PCC Accountability Meeting (PAM) was hosted by PCC Giles Orpen-Smellie at his Wymondham office on Wednesday, 5 July.

Over the last four weeks, there has been extensive coverage of an incident involving police officers failing to stop following a collision with a civilian vehicle driven by a lone female driver.

Giles was keen to scrutinise the Chief Constable, in a public forum, to understand how the incident had been investigated and what actions had been taken.

Opening the meeting, Giles said: “There have been no questions about this from the public in this specific forum. My office has received some more general correspondence, I think 16 emails in total. I don’t know how much the Constabulary has got but there has been sufficient concern expressed elsewhere to justify spending some time on this.”

Giles asked Chief Constable Paul Sanford to outline the incident and the subsequent police investigation. Mr Sanford noted that this case relates to a collision on the A146 at Barnby in Suffolk on Saturday 5 March 2022 involving two Norfolk police officers in a marked police car that failed to stop at the scene: “The officers should have stopped after the collision and I am sorry that that did not happen.” Mr Sanford continued that a thorough investigation had been conducted and independently reviewed by another police force which made no recommendations. The investigation found that evidence regarding the driver’s medical condition meant that charges brought against the driver were dropped, based on the medical evidence of two independent consultants, a point that Mr Sanford wanted to reiterate. “In short, the same medical evidence which caused the CPS to discontinue a criminal case also meant that this misconduct hearing could not be pursued.” A case against the passenger for not reporting the incident immediately is ongoing.

After this opening summary, Giles asked further questions about the incident. These included establishing the extent of the damage to the victim’s car and the police car, the reasoning behind charging the driver in the absence of body-worn video footage, the regularity of medical examinations of officers, the rationale for the CPS’s decision to drop the charges and the outcome of the independent review of Norfolk Constabulary’s investigation by The Joint Serious Collision Investigation Unit of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire.

Questions from the public were also presented to the Chief Constable by Giles and can be viewed in the first part of the recording.

The second half of the meeting reviewed the six priorities of the PCC’s Police, Crime and Community Safety Plan:

  • Visible and Trusted Policing
  • Sustaining Norfolk Constabulary
  • Tackling Crime
  • Prevent Offending
  • Support Victims
  • Safer and Stronger Communities

The two parts of the meeting are now available on our PCC Accountability Meeting webpage.

The next PCC Accountability Meeting will take place on Tuesday, 17 October 2023 from 10am. The event will be held in the Barsby Conference Room, at the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Building 7, Jubilee House, Falconers Chase, Wymondham, Norfolk NR18 OWW.