Wiltshire Police 'did not perform duties properly'
- 17 June 2010
- From the section Bristol
Police failed to warn drivers of mud on a Wiltshire road before the death of a man in a crash, an investigation has found.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigated following the death of Mesut Kayran on the B4014 near Malmesbury in 2008.
It concluded that a constable and a police community support officer did not perform their duties properly.
Wiltshire Police said the officers' decision-making had been reasonable.
An IPCC spokesman said a police community support officer was sent to assess the road near the Brokenborough turning on 23 October 2008, and told the control room: "Regarding Brokenborough there's no mud on the main road whatsoever."
A constable later responded to a 999 call at about 1850 GMT that a car had skidded off the road into a hedge.
The spokesman said the investigation had found the officer had failed to take action or warn road users of the potential danger.
Mr Kayran, 28, from Swindon, died in a crash nearby at about 2040 GMT on the same day.
The collision investigation report concluded that the mud was "excessive" and it had been drizzling, which made the road "extremely" slippery.
They also concluded that Mr Kayran had not been speeding.
At Swindon Crown Court on Monday, George Withers, 37, a farmer from Malmesbury, pleaded guilty to a charge under the Health and Safety Act relating to depositing mud on the road, and failing to place adequate signs to warn drivers.
He is due to be sentenced next Tuesday.
IPCC commissioner Rebecca Marsh said: "The view expressed to the IPCC was that other vehicles had passed through that stretch of road without any problems and therefore the two officers' judgement that the road was not dangerous was not in question."
She said it was contradicted by eyewitnesses, including the force's collision investigation experts, that the road was "treacherously slippery".
She said the investigation had concluded that Mr Kayran probably applied his brakes when he hit the mud, causing his car to skid.
"The IPCC investigation report concluded that the two officers' performance of their duties was deficient," she said.
"I will continue to work with Wiltshire Police and Police Authority to ensure that where appropriate lessons are learnt."
'No disciplinary hearings'
Wiltshire Police Assistant Chief Constable Pat Geenty expressed the force's condolences to Mr Kayran's family.
He said: "In this case the time between the first report to Wiltshire Police and the fatal collision was nearly one and a half hours and during this period possibly a hundred drivers safely negotiated the same stretch of road in the same conditions.
"Having thoroughly investigated this incident I am confident that the decision making of the officers concerned based on the circumstances that existed at the time was reasonable and I do not believe that their actions were culpable.
"For those reasons I have not accepted the recommendations of the IPCC in connection with the conduct of the officers and have decided that I will not hold any conduct hearings (disciplinary hearings) in respect of them."
He said the force had acknowledged the other recommendations and lessons had been learned.