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Police Officer cautioned over traffic incident

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A police officer has received a caution after being involved in a near miss traffic incident while driving a police Land Rover in west Belfast.

It follows a Police Ombudsman investigation into a complaint from a driver who said he had been forced to drive onto a footpath when the police vehicle pulled in front of him at a filter lane.

He said his car ended up with two wheels on the pavement, and also alleged that the police driver was rude and aggressive following the incident – which happened on the Andersonstown Road in May 2014.

The police driver was identified by a Police Ombudsman investigator and interviewed under caution. He explained that he had indicated to turn left and had moved into a space when the car in front moved off.

However, he said the complainant had accelerated towards the same space, forcing him to pull to the right to avoid a collision.

The investigator established that the incident had not been captured on CCTV, but identified five witnesses to what had happened.

Three witnesses supported the civilian driver’s account, while two had no concerns about the way the police vehicle had been driven.

A file of evidence was subsequently submitted to the Public Prosecution Service, which directed that the police driver should be prosecuted for driving without due care and attention.

He subsequently appeared at court and received an adult caution.

The Police Ombudsman also recommended that the officer should be disciplined for the driving offence, and the PSNI has since implemented the recommendation.

The investigator concluded, however, that there was insufficient evidence to warrant any misconduct action being taken over the allegations that the officer was rude or aggressive to the other driver.

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