Ambulance service failed to notify police of West Suffolk Wheelers cycling crash
Internal investigation underway after protocol not followed

The East of England Ambulance Service (EEAS) has launched an internal investigation after it initially failed to notify the police of a serious road traffic accident involving members of the West Suffolk Wheelers and Triathlon Club.

Yesterday we reported on the crash in which three riders were hurt, one critically, and it has since been reported in the East Anglian Daily Times that police did not attend the scene until after the incident, leaving members of the cycling and triathlon club to direct traffic around the scene of the crash themselves for over an hour.

The EEAS’ own protocol states that control room staff should automatically inform the police of all road traffic collisions, but clearly the protocol was not followed.

Speaking about that failure, a spokeswoman for the ambulance service denied any suggestion that the incident was not viewed as a road traffic accident on the basis that only cyclists were involved: “It’s not that we didn’t take it seriously because it was cyclists. There will be an internal investigation into what went wrong but we won’t be releasing any details.

“The call handler is well aware of the protocol that should have been followed but sadly on this occasion they did not follow it. We have addressed the issue with the individual concerned,”

Suffolk Police, meanwhile, have issued a statement about their involvement.

"Suffolk Police were notified of this incident at 1.19pm (on Monday 3rd January), when the ambulance service gave details of the cycle collision. They did not request police attendance because they had completed their work at the scene, but wanted officers to be aware.

"Officers did carry out inquiries as a result of this call, including visiting the hospital, and it was determined that no further police action was required as no complaints of improper conduct by any cyclists were received and no motor vehicles were involved.

"Suffolk Police can only respond to incidents it is notified of, and anyone requiring police assistance should call 01473 613500 or 999 in an emergency."

Barry Denny, the chairman of the cycling club, told the Daily Times: “We are not happy about this. The police didn’t respond at all. Members had to re-direct traffic. The road was closed for an hour and officers didn’t arrive at all.”

The EEAS, however, while admitting their failure in terms of police notification, have been at pains to point out that the service delivered to the injured parties was not compromised as a result of their procedural error.

Meanwhile one of the injured riders remains in a critical but stable condition. Peter Stephenson-Wall, 23, of Bury St Edmunds was taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge by air ambulance with head injuries. He is in intensive care, having been left unconscious and having suffered bleeding from an airway as a result of the crash.


A V Lowe [562 posts] 4 years ago

Police are required to report details of all vehicle crashes involving injuries including single vehicle cycle crashes as set out by Stats 20 - the reports are known as Stats 19

ACPO at one time reckoned that non serious crashes were under-reported by a factor of 14-1 across all vehicles. Rather devalues the figures quoted.

I've had to insist that Police reported a crash that I was injured in but the paperwork burden is a key factor in depressing the figures.