Commissioner of Police Derek Byrne said a “discipline investigation” would be carried out into the actions of one of his officers during the arrest of a dirt biker in April.
His comments follow a report into the incident by Ombudsman Sandy Hermiston, which was released earlier this week. She recommended that the commissioner should consider disciplinary action against the officer, who used a baton to strike the leg of the biker who had been pulled from his dirt bike by another officer following a 72-minute pursuit.
The same officer who wielded the baton also shouted at a woman who was recording the encounter and threatened her with arrest, Hermiston stated in her report.
Byrne said in a statement issued Wednesday evening, “I am in receipt of a very comprehensive and thorough review report prepared by the Ombudsman … following an Ombudsman-initiated public interest investigation into an RCIPS vehicle pursuit that took place on Saturday 4th April 2020.
“In that report, the Ombudsman makes a number of recommendations, which I have accepted. In the report from the Ombudsman, it is recommended that a discipline investigation should be initiated against one officer for his actions at the scene of the arrest of one of the offenders, and that a number of policies should be reviewed, updated or introduced.
“All of the recommendations made by the Ombudsman have been accepted and tasked to a Deputy Commissioner for necessary attention and report.”
The Ombudsman launched the investigation after footage of police chasing and stopping the dirt biker was widely posted on social media. The 23-year-old biker, from Bodden Town, was subsequently charged with breaking curfew, as well as several road offences.
Hermiston made the following recommendations in her report:
- The police commissioner should consider disciplining the officer over the use of a baton and his unprofessional conduct in his interactions with the woman at the scene.
- The RCIPS pursuit policy should be updated and implemented as soon as possible.
- A debrief of all officers involved should occur to review this incident and learn from it.
- Critical-incident managers should receive direction with respect to their roles in future pursuits.
- The police commissioner should clarify for all officers whether it is ever permissible for off-duty officers to involve themselves in pursuits using private vehicles.
A press release issued by the Ombudsman about her report can be read here.