Police operator "not in control" of pursuit that led to Verwood teenager's death, investigation finds (From Bournemouth Echo)
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Police operator "not in control" of pursuit that led to Verwood teenager's death, investigation finds
A DORSET police control room operator was “not in control” of a pursuit which ended in the tragic death of a Verwood teenager, a report has found.
Steve Brown, 18, suffered fatal injuries on December 18, 2011 after his Volkswagen Golf crashed on Horton Road near Three Legged Cross.
An investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has revealed that the Golf had been travelling at up to 125 mph on West Moors Road before the collision.
Officers in a marked police car, who had tried to stop the purple vehicle, reached 95 mph during the early morning pursuit, which began almost four hours after reports that Mr Brown had driven away without paying for petrol in St Leonards. The car had a false number plate.
An 18-year-old Ferndown man, who was a passenger in the Golf and treated for minor injuries, provided evidence to the IPCC.
The investigation found that the pursuit had been carried out in accordance with police guidelines and that the officers’ decision to pursue the Golf after it failed to stop was “proportionate”.
But IPCC commissioner Naseem Malik said: “It was clear from audio recordings that the control room operator was not in control of this pursuit. This was mitigated by the actions of another operator who ensured that correct actions were carried out.
“We have identified that the control room operator had not been given proper training to manage police pursuits and so it is Dorset police who must take responsibility for those failings.”
A Dorset police spokesman said: “This was a tragic incident in which a young man lost his life and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.
“Dorset Police welcomes the IPCC’s report and can confirm that the operator involved has now received additional training. Steps have been put in place to ensure that new operators also receive this training.”
An inquest into Mr Brown’s death will be held on April 3.