Police cleared over M4 pursuit death

An Independent Police Complains Commission (IPCC) inquiry into the death of a man on the M4 in Berkshire following a police pursuit has cleared the officers involved.

Roberto Fernandes, 32, was being pursued by Metropolitan Police officers in March when his Ford Fiesta crashed into the central reservation.

He got out of the vehicle, but was struck by another car.

Officers subsequently discovered cocaine in his vehicle.

The IPCC said the actions of the officers were proportionate and pursuit guidelines had been followed.

The pursuit began in Hayes, west London, on 16 March when plain-clothes officers involved in an anti-crime operation tried to speak to Mr Fernandes while he was parked in Willow Tree Lane.

He drove off, pursued by officers in four cars, along the A312 dual carriageway and west along the M4.

The crash happened at 14:43 GMT, between junctions 7 and 8, near Maidenhead.

'Reasonable grounds'

When Mr Fernandez got out of the car, he climbed over the central reservation on to the eastbound carriageway where he was struck.

He was taken to Wexham Park Hospital, Slough, but later died.

IPCC Commissioner Rachel Cerfontyne said: "The police officers who wanted to speak to Mr Fernandes were engaged in an anti-crime initiative and his behaviour in driving off was reasonable grounds to initiate a pursuit.

"A quantity of cocaine was recovered from Mr Fernandes' car.

"Our investigation focused on the police actions from when the decision to pursue Mr Fernandes was taken until the crash on the motorway.

"When he crashed into the central barrier Mr Fernandes stepped over the central barrier but was not being pursued.

"There was no evidence to suggest that the actions of any police officers or police staff involved in the incident had committed a criminal offence.

"One officer in one of the vehicles disobeyed an order to drop out of the pursuit and the IPCC expect the MPS (Metropolitan Police Service) to deal with this through its internal procedures."

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