Investigation concludes following fatal police pursuit in Lancashire
Police officers who pursued a vehicle in Lancashire before it was involved in a fatal collision acted in accordance with the relevant policies and procedures, an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation concluded.
An inquest which concluded today (21 July) at Preston Coroner’s Court, determined Imran Sultan, died as a result of a road traffic collision.
We received a referral from Lancashire Police following the incident on Sunday 18 July 2021, in Hapton, on the A679, in which Mr Sultan, 29, died. A female passenger was also taken to hospital as a precaution and treated for minor injuries.
IOPC investigators attended the scene of the collision and obtained CCTV footage, in-car footage from the police car, body-worn video footage and statements from both police officers and members of the public during the course of the investigation.
Our investigation, which concluded in November 2021, found that two officers saw a Nissan X-Trail driving at speed while travelling along the M65 motorway towards Blackburn.
A pursuit began after the Nissan driver exited the M65 motorway via the Junction 8 slip road and increased its speed. Officers told us they judged it to be driving erratically.
The roads on which the pursuit took place have speed limits ranging between 30mph and 50mph. The in-car footage obtained during our investigation showed the driver did not demonstrate any intention to stop for the police, at times increasing the speed of the car to approximately 95mph.
The contact between the police and Mr Sultan during the pursuit was brief and lasted about three minutes from the initial sighting. There was also a significant distance between the police car and the Nissan driver during the pursuit. The Nissan was out of sight of police at the time of the collision, with officers becoming aware when they saw debris on the road as they travelled round a bend.
The evidence showed that the officer driving the police vehicle considered the weather and road conditions, traffic and pedestrian volume as well as the speed of the pursuit, and this information was appropriately relayed to the control room operator.
We concluded that while police presence may have affected the manner of Mr Sultan’s driving, the evidence indicated the officers acted in accordance with local and national policies. We also found that the risk assessments carried out by the officers and control room staff during the pursuit were appropriate and necessary.
IOPC Regional Director Catherine Bates said: “This was a tragic event that resulted in a man’s death. Our thoughts remain with his family and all those affected.
“It is vital that incidents like this are thoroughly and independently investigated, which is what we have done. Our findings were provided to the Coroner to help inform the inquest proceedings.
“Our investigation found that the officers involved were appropriately-trained and driving in accordance with force and national policies during the pursuit.”