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Cyclist hit from behind by metallic grey vehicle

Nottinghamshire police have issued a witness appeal after a cyclist was seriously injured in a hit and run incident on Friday evening. The victim, off-duty police officer PC Diederick Coetzee, is in a critical but stable condition in a Mansfield hospital.

The Daily Mail reports that PC Coetzee, who uses a bike to patrol his beat in Mansfield South, earned the nickname 'Robocop' in 2005 after beating the record for the most arrests made by an officer, for which he was given a formal citation.

He had already beaten the previous record of 305 arrests in October, and by the end of the year, he had made 366 arrests, although it later transpired tha his annual total had been beaten by another officer who made three more arrests.

The following year, he got the record back, making 404 arrests.

At the time, PC Coetzee, a regular competitor in Ironman triathlon events, said: "I know my patch like the back of my hand, so when I give chase on my bike there’s little chance of a criminal getting away, even if he’s in a car."

One theory police are wroking on is that the officer may have been deliberately targeted by someone he had previously brought to justice, although they were keen to stress that was just one avenue of enquiry among many. "‘There are plenty of people out there who could have a grudge against him," a police source told the Daily Mail. "It is certainly something we have to consider."

Originally from South Africa, the 54-year-old spent two and a half decades working in law enforcement in his native country before moving to the UK, including stints as an explosives expert and as a dog handler.

The incident that resulted in PC Coetzee being hospitalised this weekend occurred on Bildworth Lane between Rainworth and Bludworth. According to the police PC Coetzee was travelling towards Bildworth when he was struck from behind at about 6pm by what police believe was a metallic grey coloured vehicle.

Investigating officer Det Sgt Ged Hazelwood told the Mansfield Chad: “Blidworth Lane is a poorly illuminated thorough-way but the collision happened during rush hour, when many people were headed home from work.

“Pc Coetzee was wearing a high-visibility vest and had his bike lights turned on."

The police Crash Investigation Team are trawling through local CCTV footage in a bid to spot the car. Debris left at the scene indicates that the car was damaged in the incident and local garages and car repairers are being urged to look out for a vehicle matching the description.

Witnesses or anyone with information about the vehicle being sought are urged to contact the Nottinghamshire Police Crash Investigation team or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.

15 comments

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londonplayer [620 posts] 4 years ago
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I wonder why they are taking the investigation so seriously? hmmm....

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don_don [149 posts] 4 years ago
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They don't appear to be taking it any more or less seriously than if it were any other cyclist. What are you saying londonplayer?

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Gkam84 [9086 posts] 4 years ago
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I hope they catch the driver involved, just so we can see what kind of sentence or charge they get because it was a police officer they hit

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mike78 [7 posts] 4 years ago
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Londonplayer - Whenever anyone is seriously injured (whereby the injuries are said to be life changing or potentially so) or killed, the collision is investigated in line with the 'Road Death Investigation Manual'. This is directly comparable to the 'Murder Investigation Manual". Roads are closed for hours at a time so that evidence can be collected (no doubt you will complain about that too) and this is presented to the CPS/Courts. Please don't confuse the workings of the court with the investigation work of the police. I can assure you we are as frustrated as anyone by their decisions and the sentences passed down.
I am fed up with comments that seem to suggest cyclist are treated differently by the police than other road users. Many of my colleague's and I are cyclists and more importantly human beings. We have families and friends and conduct every investigation as we hope an investigation into their collision would be conducted.

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Paul M [360 posts] 4 years ago
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Well Mike 78, not sure what force you are with and I applaud your attitude but you have to know that this is not at all how your average cyclist in London sees it working. I have had four minor scrapes and perhaps it is because I was not immediately showing signs of injury (on one occasion the injuries manifested themselves some time later) that when I reported them the police showed that they didn't give a rat's arse.

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giff77 [1251 posts] 4 years ago
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@mike - you may need to excuse the cynicism expressed by some members of the forum. One occasion when I was knocked off my bike the pc asked me "what I wanted them to do about it" when I reported it. On the occassions when I had a car driven at me and been threatened I have been told there is nothing they can do regardless of my having registration #'s etc.

The police in the article seem to be at pains to highlight that it was an off-duty PC and no stone is left unturned in tracking down the culprit. It just sometimes feels that when it's one of their own, more effort appears to be put in.

I sincerely hope that PC Coetzee makes a full recovery and is back on two wheels and that the driver does get caught.

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Gkam84 [9086 posts] 4 years ago
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@Mike - Again another member who does not trust how the police deal with cyclist's, In my case, i was hit from behind by a car, the driver then found a "witness" to an accident where we were the only two on the road, he accused me of throwing my bike at his car after he "cut me up, but did not hit me"

Expert evidence from LBS and others about how the damage to my bike came about and the police did not give two sh*t to the way they dealt with it nor to backing the driver and charging me, it went to court and because of the police reports i was found guilty of throwing my bike at the car

The way the police deal with cyclist's whether in an accident or just in general up here, i dont know about else where is just shocking and their attitude just seems to be "get off the roads and we wont have a problem" thats why i'm interested to see what the charges will be in this case if they catch the driver AND i can almost guarantee if it goes to court, he'll get a proper sentence that all drivers who knock down cyclists should get but never do, just because he hit a police man

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SideBurn [890 posts] 4 years ago
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Have a lot of respect for the Police in general it is a thankless job. But I was once told after I was hit by a car by a Police officer that I had not been hit by a car. I had in reality been startled by a car passing close to me and just fallen off! He then left me on my own by the side of the road complete with broken bones, damaged bike and a black mark on the handlebars where the car hit me!! This has severely challenged my faith in all Police officers!!! I am sure most are first rate but this event seems typical

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A V Lowe [575 posts] 4 years ago
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Sadly no smoke without fire - the consistency of reporst that crashes where the cyclist is hit by a car are not taken seriously, are rife - I was arrested because the driver of BMW rear ended me undertaking the line of cars passing me as we pulled away from lights, as I damaged his precious car when I landed on the bonnet

Fortunately one of the drivers overtaking me gave his details as a witness and I was released from a brief period in the cells - no apology or anything about being wrongfully arrested.

Recently I was hit by a driver setting off from being stationary in a queue after his traffic signal had turned red. The damage to the bike shows the impact was him driving in to me and my lights had just turned to green. He initially admitted fault but now is trying to wriggle out of it - although the damage to his car apparently included £500-worth of wrecked windscreen, where I rolled over the bonnet.

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OldRidgeback [2620 posts] 4 years ago
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...and as for trying to report the theft of an expensive set of forks from my mountain bike, when I said I had a fair idea who had taken them the officer at Southwark Police Station responded, "I( could probably give you their names and addresses," and promptly hung up on me. When I rang back to try and at least get a crime number and report the theft I was told to stop wasting their time or I'd be charged with that offence. Now I do know a few cops and a couple come to my cycling club. But my cynicism, like various otheres here by all accounts, is based on actual experience.

I hope the perp is found. I wonder what has happened in the search for the crazed Renault driver in Embra? I still can't see how he avoided being on camera footage.

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Tony Farrelly [2868 posts] 4 years ago
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We don't report all of them but we do see stories from round the country about incidents like this where the police forces concerned seem to be following just the procedures that mike78 mentions, and we do carry a fair few witness appeals too.

I think the problem seems to be for those cyclists involved in incidents where they aren't injured seriously enough for the Road Death Investigation Manual procedures to be used. Maybe Sideburn was 'unlucky' in that he wasn't left unconscious by the side of the road so that an amubulance needed to be called, and I'm not saying that sarcastically or flippantly, and doubly unlucky in encountering an officer who didn't fancy the paperwork involved in dealing with the incident properly there are people like that in every walk of life you just don't want to be encountering them if you've been the victim of a crime or working in an A&E department.

I think the problem here is that in these slightly less serious cases many police officers simply reflect the attitude still prevalent in most parts of society that injuries caused by a motor vehicle are basically a health and safety issue rather than as cyclists see it, as assault. The other problem for cyclists is that if you get hit by a car you are likely to damage the car and the law still seems to place a greater importance on crime against property than on crime against the person which I can see can make things potentially awkward for the police.

Anyway here's hoping that Pc Coetzee makes a full recovery and that the perpetrator is brought to justice.

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AWPeleton [3325 posts] 4 years ago
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I will happily come on this forum and stand up for cops throughout the country who do their job properly and i could list job after job where this is the case.

However there will always be cases where people are unhappy simply because they dont like the Police.

OldRidgeback, i find your comment almost impossible to believe as every call to the Police is firstly recorded, secondly it goes through to the force's control room and the job is created regardless of how extreme or unrelated to Police work the call is, and trust me we have some real corkers !.

Thirdly there are numerous call takers so the chance of getting the same person is very rare.

I wont go as far as saying your lying but i have noticed that everytime there is an article about Police involvement you have a comment about how poor we did in a certain investigation, a coincidence possibly.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion and i would never suggest anything other. Lets hope the cop who was hurt gets better just like every other cyclist who gets injured whilst enjoying what is still a great sport / pastime.

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giff77 [1251 posts] 4 years ago
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@ stumpy - I could never do your job. I have the utmost respect for the police. Sadly, my last few experiences have left me with a somewhat tainted view. Maybe it is the particular division and constabulary that is responsible for the region I live in I don't know. Sadly it just feels that as a cyclist who has been caught up in a number of incidents, the police show a total unwillingness to deal with it  2 Do I have a right to complain? I know that as police officers you need to prioritise certain offences but to be dismissed face to face is a bit extreme. And again I am hoping that the officer makes a full recovery.

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Coleman [335 posts] 4 years ago
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However there will always be cases where people are unhappy simply because they dont like the Police.

/quote]

The times I have contacted the police I have been very unhappy with the lack of communication and lack of action. I don't dislike the police, I dislike the 'couldn't care less, it's just some bloke who got knocked off his bike' attitude.

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AWPeleton [3325 posts] 4 years ago
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I appreciate people responding to my comments, thats what they are put there for.

Speaking from experience we can offer an IP the world and it's never enough but some are really happy with a simple phone call.

Mind you there are certain areas of law that some cops can go their whole service and never deal with and have no knowledge of that subject.

It's just a shame that we cant give 100% results 100% of the time.