PC admits careless driving after crashing marked police car

A DORSET Police officer has been fined and had eight points put on his licence after admitting careless driving while responding to an emergency call which ended in a serious crash.

PC Harry Chaplin, of Weymouth, appeared at Winchester Crown Court on Tuesday (August 29), where he admitted a charge of careless driving.

He was ordered to pay a £307 fine, £500 compensation and £123 victim surcharge and will have eight points on his driving licence.

The crash occurred at just after 10pm on Saturday, July 9 last year, in Littlemoor Road, Weymouth, involving a marked Dorset Police Vauxhall Astra and a Honda Civic.

The court heard PC Chaplin was driving one of two marked police cars that were making their way to a 999 call nearby. Both were displaying their emergency lights.

The driver of the Honda Civic was travelling along Littlemoor Road when he slowed and indicated to turn right into Chalbury Close.

As it approached the junction, the Honda Civic slowed and waited to let the first police car go past. It then began to turn right and as it did so, the second police car – driven by 27-year-old PC Chaplin – struck the rear offside of the vehicle. The impact caused the Honda Civic to spin a number of times and crash into the wall of a nearby house.

Expert collision investigators calculated the speed of the police vehicle to be between 73 and 81mph prior to emergency breaking and impact. The road is a restricted 30mph zone.

Both vehicles sustained extensive damage in the collision.

The Honda Civic was being driven by a local man aged in his 30s and also contained his wife who was travelling in the front passenger seat, also aged in her 30s, and two young children.

The woman was taken to hospital and spent a number of days receiving treatment for a bleed on the brain.

Following the collision, an investigation was commenced in conjunction with the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

Dorset Police Assistant Chief Constable Steve Lyne said: “We note the sentencing of the court. Police drivers undergo intensive driver training and regular refresher courses to ensure that they drive to the safest standards and in accordance with the law.

“There are exemptions allowing officers to travel in excess of the speed limit at times, but this must always be done so safely.

“Where this highest standard is not met, we will present evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service who will determine if any action should be taken.

“This matter will now be subject to misconduct proceedings and as such it would in appropriate to comment further.”

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