Greater Manchester Police officers involved in Wigan pursuit acted appropriately
An Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation into the actions of police prior to, and immediately following, a serious collision in Wigan found the officers involved acted appropriately throughout.
We received a referral from Greater Manchester Police (GMP) after an off-road e-bike collided with a signpost on Shuttle Street, Tyldesley, on 6 June 2021. The bike was being pursued by two officers on unmarked police motorcycles at the time.
The force later referred a complaint from the rider, who was seriously injured.
During the investigation we obtained accounts from both officers and reviewed CCTV and dashcam footage of incident. We also spoke to several witnesses.
The officers had been on patrol when they came across four people on e-bikes who all rode off at speed and onto the Leigh Guided Busway. Suspecting the bikes may have been stolen, they began a pursuit.
Three of the bikes exited the busway and officers, one of whom activated his emergency lights and siren, continued to pursue the fourth.
During the pursuit, which lasted under two minutes, one of the officers made unsuccessful attempts to stop the suspect by making physical contact with the bike using his legs. There was video evidence of two such occasions as well as a possible third where the complainant’s bike was seen to lose balance briefly, although it was not clear what caused this.
The evidence showed that on each occasion the vehicles were travelling between 14 and 26mph and there was either a hedge or grassy slope on the other side of the bike that would have cushioned the rider’s fall had the attempts been successful.
A short time later, the pursuit continued onto Shuttle Street. Footage shows the e-bike attempted to mount the pavement to go around a parked car. On making contact with the kerb, the rider lost his balance and collided with a signpost. There was no physical contact with either police officer or vehicle at this point.
The man, who was 27 at the time, suffered a serious head injury and officers began to administer first aid while they waited for an ambulance.
The investigation, which concluded in April, found no indication the officers had breached the police standards of professional behaviour. In relation to the man’s complaints – concerning the use of force, officer’s actions immediately following the pursuit, and whether they clearly identified themselves as police officers – we found the service provided by the police to acceptable.
IOPC Regional Director Amanda Rowe said: “Incidents like this can be very concerning for the public and our investigation ensured independent scrutiny of police actions and decision-making. We found both officers acted appropriately in the circumstances.
“It is clear one of the officers attempted to bring the pursuit to an early conclusion using force, as allowed by law. We accepted his justification for this, as well as his risk assessment of the situation, and considered the level of force to be reasonable.
“We also considered a complaint about the actions of officers after the collision but found the evidence did not support the complainant’s account. Footage showed both officers provided medical assistance while they waited for paramedics.”
We will now consider whether to make any statutory recommendations based on potential learning identified during the investigation.