Wigan police cleared after e-bike chase ends in horror crash

Wigan police motorcycle patrol officers have been cleared of blame by watchdogs after a chase involving an e-bike ended in a serious injury crash.

By Charles Graham
Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 4:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 4:01 pm

A 27-year-old man riding the vehicle sustained a grave head wound after it collided with a signpost on Shuttle Street, Tyldesley.

The bike was being pursued by two officers on unmarked police motorcycles at the time.

Following the smash on June 6 last year, Greater Manchester Police referred itself for investigation by the The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

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Shuttle Street in Tyldesley

The rider himself also later lodged a complaint with the force who forwarded it to the IOPC.

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Investigators obtained accounts from both officers and reviewed CCTV and dashcam footage of the incident. Several witnesses were also interviewed.

The officers had been on patrol when they came across four people on e-bikes who all rode off at speed and onto Leigh Guided Busway. Suspecting the bikes may have been stolen, they began a pursuit.Three of the bikes exited the busway and officers, one of whom activated his emergency lights and siren, continued to pursue the fourth.During the pursuit, which lasted under two minutes, one officer made unsuccessful attempts to stop the suspect by making physical contact with the bike using his legs.

There was video evidence of two such occasions as well as a possible third where the complainant’s bike was seen to lose balance briefly, although the IOPC says it was not clear what caused this.The evidence showed that the vehicles were travelling between 14 and 26mph and there was either a hedge or grassy slope on the other side of the bike that would have cushioned the rider’s fall had the attempts been successful.

Tthe chase continued onto Shuttle Street. Footage shows the e-bike attempted to mount the pavement to go around a parked car.

On making contact with the kerb, the rider lost his balance and collided with a signpost.

There was no physical contact with either police officer or vehicle at this point.The man suffered a serious head injury and officers began to administer first aid while they waited for an ambulance.The investigation found no indication the officers had breached the police standards of professional behaviour.

In relation to the man’s complaints – concerning the use of force, officer’s actions immediately following the pursuit, and whether they clearly identified themselves as police officers – the probe found the service provided by the police to be “acceptable”.IOPC Regional Director Amanda Rowe said: “Incidents like this can be very concerning for the public and our investigation ensured independent scrutiny of police actions and decision-making. We found both officers acted appropriately in the circumstances.“It is clear one of the officers attempted to bring the pursuit to an early conclusion using force, as allowed by law. We accepted his justification for this, as well as his risk assessment of the situation, and considered the level of force to be reasonable.“We also considered a complaint about the actions of officers after the collision but found the evidence did not support the complainant’s account. Footage showed both officers provided medical assistance while they waited for paramedics.”The IOPC will now consider whether to make any statutory recommendations based on potential learning identified during the investigation.