Tyne & Wear

Northumbria Police chief defends Moat call response

David Rathband and Raoul Moat composite picture Image copyright PA
Image caption PC Rathband, left, was shot and blinded by Moat in 2010

The senior officer in the Northumbria Police control room on the night PC David Rathband was shot and blinded by Raoul Moat has defended its actions.

PC Rathband's family has brought a civil action against the force, claiming an alert should have been issued as soon as the gunman rang, threatening to hunt down officers.

It was Supt Jo Farrell's job to assess the threat and decide the response.

She said they were attempting to pinpoint his location via his phone.

Giving evidence at the hearing at Newcastle's Moot Hall, Ms Farrell said: "With the cell site analysis we would have gained more information and narrowed down which officers were at risk.

"I was seeing if I could further develop information about Moat to allow that warning to be given to a smaller group of officers to ensure it was effective."

The hearing was told there were about 700 officers on duty that night.

'Legitimate and reasonable'

Geoffrey Tattersall QC, for the family, said: "In this case here there should have been a warning as soon as there were threats to shoot police officers, and later, if you got further information which confirmed a more precise location, you could deploy your armed response unit."

Ms Farrell said: "I started a course of action in very quick time to try and identify where Moat was in order to protect the people he threatened, being the public and police officers.

"This was a legitimate and reasonable course of action."

Moat had gone on the run after shooting his ex-partner Samantha Stobbart and murdering her new lover Chris Brown in Birtley, Gateshead, in the early hours of 3 July 2010.

The next night he spoke to a Northumbria Police call handler for almost five minutes, saying he would kill any officer who came near him, that he was not coming in alive and, at one point, that he was hunting for officers.

The civil claim states that had PC Rathband, who was sitting in his patrol car on a Newcastle roundabout above the A1, been warned about the threat, he would have kept moving.

The hearing continues.

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