Wiltshire Police inspector given final warning over fatal crash

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Policeman and police car -genericImage source, PA Media
Image caption,
A disciplinary panel found Ch Insp Keith Ewart had failed in his duties and responsibilities amounting to gross misconduct

A Wiltshire Police chief inspector has been given a final written warning over his failure to disclose information to a police watchdog about a fatal crash.

Pedestrian Aidan Ridley, 22, was hit by a car in Royal Wootton Bassett in 2016.

When a member of the public rang 999 a police call handler advised that Mr Ridley should not be moved.

Ch Insp Keith Ewart was the critical incident manager and acted without integrity by not telling investigators he had heard part of that 999 call.

Officer's responsibility

He later disclosed this information in a witness statement for the inquest, but a gross misconduct hearing held earlier this week heard his actions had breached professional standards.

Catrin Evans, from the Police watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct, said: "Police guidance puts the onus squarely on an officer to positively disclose any relevant information when acting in the role of a police friend during an investigation.

"Chief Inspector Ewart did not tell our investigators about the extent of his involvement in the incident, and neither did he inform senior Wiltshire officers."

A police disciplinary panel on 11 March ruled his actions amounted to gross misconduct and "while not dishonest", he had lacked integrity and failed in his duties and responsibilities.

First aid advice

He was also accused of failing in his duties and responsibilities by not intervening in the call to provide first aid advice on 12 February 2016.

In contrast, the call handler's advice was not to move Mr Ridley who had trouble breathing and subsequently died after being deprived of oxygen.

Officers learn about airway management in their annual first aid refresher training, but the disciplinary panel decided this allegation was not proven.

Steve Cox, head of professional standards at Wiltshire Police, said the force had learned a large amount from the case and was working with Ch Insp Ewart to help him to "reflect on the findings of the hearing".

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