South East Wales

Gwent Police cleared after Robert Whatley car chase

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Media captionA BBC News report from the time of the incident in August 2010

Two Gwent Police officers have been cleared of wrongdoing after smashing a car window at the end of a pursuit.

The incident, caught on a police car camera, shows one officer smashing the window and another jumping on the bonnet to kick the windscreen.

It was at the end of a 17-minute pursuit of Robert Whatley, 71, of Usk, Monmouthshire.

A disciplinary panel comprising officers from another force said the officers' actions were justified.

Mr Whatley was pulled over last year after driving off without wearing a seatbelt and being pursued by a police car along country roads between Cwmbran and Usk.

The two officers followed him along eight miles of country lanes for before trying to stop the Range Rover with a stinger device.

But Mr Whatley pulled over again and waited for the police to approach his car.

He said he then drove off because he thought he had been dealt with and was in need of his medication for a heart condition and stroke.

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

But Caerphilly magistrates cleared him of failing to stop after an accident.

Image caption Robert Whatley appeared before Caerphilly magistrates last year

He also admitted having a registration plate which did not adhere to regulations and was fined a total of £235 and ordered to pay £300 towards prosecution costs.

An internal investigation into the officers' actions was supervised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

"Gwent Police can confirm that following a three-day disciplinary hearing two officers were found not guilty of breaching standards of professional behaviour and their actions were justified," said a statement.

The panel was made up of senior officers from another police force area.

"Gwent Police expects the highest professional standards of its officers and staff at all times and following a hearing where evidence of the whole incident, not just the isolated CCTV footage, was heard and the panel concluded that the actions of the officers were justified and did not breach the standards of professional behaviour expected of police officers."

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