Investigation underway into police actions prior to fatal M25 collision

Published: 09 Feb 2024

We are investigating the involvement of Hertfordshire Constabulary officers prior to a fatal road traffic collision on the M25 where two people died, on Sunday 4 February.

We were notified by Hertfordshire Constabulary shortly after the collision, which happened just after 4am, and IOPC investigators went to the crash scene and the police post incident procedure where the officers involved provided their initial accounts.

We are gathering and reviewing evidence as we piece together the circumstances surrounding this incident. This includes securing and reviewing police dashcam footage and officers’ body-worn video footage, obtaining motorway CCTV and reviewing police call logs and radio transmissions. 

At this stage we have established that at around 3.40am police officers in a marked vehicle saw a white Citroen Dispatch van travelling on the M1, which had been reported stolen. 

A short time afterwards the officers activated their vehicle’s lights and sirens in an attempt to stop the driver of the van. After they failed to stop, officers initiated a pursuit which was abandoned because the officers assessed that the risk of continuing was too high. 

There was a subsequent pursuit of the van shortly before 4am on Breakspear Way, which was abandoned a few minutes later.

A short time later the van was then seen by a police officer travelling on the wrong side of the M25. The officer followed the van on the correct side of the road but did not activate the vehicle’s lights or sirens. 

At approximately 4.08am, the van was involved in a collision with other vehicles on the M25 between junctions 21a (North Orbital Road/St Albans) and 22 (London Colney). 

Sadly, two people have died as a result of that collision. The driver of the van was taken to hospital where we understand they remain in a serious condition. A criminal investigation into the fatal crash is being carried out by Essex Police.

IOPC Regional Director Charmaine Arbouin said: “Our thoughts are with all those affected by this tragic incident. Given that police officers were pursuing one of the vehicles before the fatal collision, it’s important that we independently investigate the actions and decision-making of the officers involved. 

“We will ensure that our enquiries do not impede the police investigation, and we will keep those involved regularly updated.” 

  • Hertfordshire Constabulary
  • Road traffic incidents