Wales

IPCC investigate Gwent Police window smash car pursuit

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe pensioner was stopped for not wearing a seat belt.

Two Gwent Police officers have been taken off operational duty after a driver's window was smashed at the end of a 17-minute pursuit.

Robert Whatley drove off, allegedly knocking one officer, when they tried to give him a penalty notice, Caerphilly Magistrates Court heard.

Mr Whatley, 70, who was convicted of driving offences, was eventually stopped by a stinger device.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating.

Video of the incident filmed by a camera on the police car shows one officer smashed the window and another jumped on the bonnet to kick the windscreen.

The force refererred the matter to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

In a statement released on Thursday after the court case, deputy chief constable Carmel Napier said: "When the incident happened Gwent Police had great concerns about what appeared to have occurred.

"Immediate contact was made with the complainant, his concerns recorded and a voluntary referral made by the force to the IPCC who agreed to supervise the investigation into the incident and the complaints raised by Mr Whatley.

"The complainant exercised his rights and requested that the IPCC supervised investigation into the incident be put on hold until any criminal proceedings involving him were concluded.

"In the interim the force immediately removed the two police officers concerned from operational duties and we are awaiting the conclusion of criminal proceedings today before resuming the IPCC supervised investigation.

"Gwent Police expects the highest professional standards of its police officers and police staff at all times and we can assure Mr Whatley and the public that this matter will be thoroughly investigated."

Tinted windows

The court heard that Mr Whatley, of Usk, Monmouthshire, who is disabled, was aggressive and drove off after stopped in Cwmbran last September. He is said to have kept within the speed limit throughout the pursuit.

He was reportedly followed for 17 minutes. Mr Whatley claimed he thought the police car - with sirens and lights switched on - was giving him an escort home.

Last week, the pensioner appeared at a two-day trial before Caerphilly magistrates court.

He was found guilty of not wearing a seatbelt, of failing to stop for a police officer, and of having tinted windows that did not conform to legal requirements.

He was cleared of failing to stop after an accident. He also admitted having a registration plate which did not meet regulations.

He was fined a total of £235 with £300 costs.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites