Cambridgeshire

Ditch crash biker 'passed from pillar-to-post' by police

Richard Collins
Image caption Richard Collins said he crashed when his bike caught the "crumbly" surface of the road

An injured motorcyclist stranded for hours in a ditch because three police forces could not decide which should attend said he was passed from "pillar-to-post" between emergency services.

Richard Collins, 49, from Bedfordshire, broke his forearm after crashing near Tilbrook, Cambridgeshire, on Sunday.

Two 999 and two 101 calls were made between 16:00 BST and 18:15, but no-one arrived until 18:40.

He was eventually taken to Bedford Hospital in a Bedfordshire Police car.

"It was miscommunication, the left hand didn't seem to know what the right hand was doing," he said.

Mr Collins, a service engineer from Everton, near Sandy, was riding on the B645, near where the borders of Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire meet, when he crashed into a ditch to avoid oncoming traffic.

Image caption The crash happened on the B645, about a mile west of Tilbrook on the border of three counties

Timeline of emergency calls

  • 16:00 - 999 call by a member of the public - they are told police and ambulance will attend
  • 17:15 - Mr Collins calls 101 and is told ambulance and police will be on their way
  • 18:10 - He makes another 101 call and is connected to Northamptonshire Police, which transfers him to Cambridgeshire Police, which in turn tells him it is a matter for Bedfordshire Police
  • 18:15 - He dials 999 again
  • 18:40 - Bedfordshire Police arrive and take him by police car to hospital

Mr Collins said a member of the public made the first 999 call at 16:00 and left shortly afterwards.

But when no-one had arrived by 17:15 he called emergency services himself and was told an ambulance and police car were on their way.

He then made further calls at 18:10 and 18:15, before a police car arrived nearly half an hour later.

"It was very painful and uncomfortable as my forearm was bent at right-angles," he said.

Image copyright Richard Collins
Image caption Richard Collins said his Honda VFR 800cc motorbike was badly damaged

"I was being passed from pillar-to-post. Apparently there's been an apology, but I haven't received it personally.

"All the police forces need to look at their emergency call procedures, especially when dealing with cases on their borders."

A Cambridgeshire Police spokesman said investigations have since confirmed the incident did take place in Bedfordshire by a few metres, but stated "it remains clear that a better response should have been given by all three forces".

Bedfordshire Police has referred the matter to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

East Midlands Ambulance Service said it was asked to attend the call, which was outside its patch, but due to the high level of emergencies and because Mr Collins' condition was deemed non-life threatening, it could not respond "as quickly as we would have liked".

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