The cyclist involved in a horrifying hit and run in Nottingham for which the driver was not prosecuted has expressed frustration at the pace and scope of the police investigation. Reginald Scot believes that the driver responsible could have been identified had the investigation been widened sooner.
Two people were permitted to drive the vehicle on the day of the collision and Scot says their defence basically amounted to being unable to remember who was behind the wheel. However, The Crown Prosecution Service dropped the prosecutions for failing to stop at the scene of an accident and failing to report an accident on the grounds that there was not enough evidence. A 54-year-old man who was eligible to drive the car received six penalty points and a £150 fine for failing to provide driver details.
Scot suggests there may have been an early assumption that his own video footage would have been enough to secure a conviction. In a recent YouTube update he adds that a heavy reliance on paperwork slowed the police investigation and resulted in further potential evidence being lost.
He describes the officer involved in the investigation as ‘one of the good ones’.
“If people think I’m directly criticising her, I’m not. What I’m criticising – if I do have any criticism of the police in general – is the formulation of the way they set out their investigation.
“Basically, I think what it is, is that all investigations, when they’re established, they have to follow almost a tick sheet. So each officer has a set of requirements they have to go through – a set of rings they have to jump through – and that makes it very restrictive for them to complete a decent investigation, in my opinion.”
Scot says the responses he got when making suggestions how to advance the investigation were that either there wasn’t the time or money, or that the officer would be required to complete certain other steps first.
For example, he believes there was at least one other camera which captured footage of the crash. He says that a nurse who came to see him when he was lying in the street did so after been called out by a security guard who had seen the incident on the CCTV of a nearby NHS centre.
Scot says this footage was lost due to the time that passed before the police realised they needed further evidence.
He quotes the officer involved as having at one point said: “I cannot speed up the process that I have to follow and it may seem that things are a little quiet but that is only because I am waiting on paperwork.” He says she later added that if police had been dealing with a more serious injury or fatality, they would have been ‘trawling through every CCTV camera in the area’ – “However, in this situation I intend to keep enquiries proportionate and realistic.”
Duncan Dollimore from CTC’s Road Justice Campaign said the case highlighted the need to fully investigate road collisions, and not just treat them as minor road traffic offences.
“The driver of this vehicle has not been identified, but it is unclear whether attempts were made to interrogate the mobile phone record of the person who hired the vehicle in question, which could have identified whether he made or received any calls within the immediate area of the collision at the relevant time.
“Given the location of the collision it would also seem likely that CCTV footage from or near the scene would have been available, however there appears to be some suggestion that this was lost because it was not viewed or seized quickly enough, which highlights the need for thorough and expeditious investigations in these cases.
“Secondly this case highlights a significant problem with the current legislation, where the relatively minor penalty for failing to disclose the name of the driver of a vehicle arguably presents an incentive to drivers to leave the scene of an incident if there are multiple users of a vehicle and a possibility they might not be identified.
“The Government needs to reconsider the penalties when the registered owner, keeper or hirer of a vehicle fails to provide the drivers details, and effectively make this a more serious offence. Perhaps they could do this within their long promised review of motoring offences and penalties, the review the Justice Secretary Chris Grayling promised in May 2014, and which we are still waiting for.”