Police promise review of training guidance following A4 deaths

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PC James Dixon and Gladys Goodwin
PC James Dixon and Gladys Goodwin

THAMES VALLEY POLICE has vowed to carry out a review of how its officers are given guidance over training exercises, following the death of PC James Dixon and Gladys Goodwin on the A4 Bath Road two years ago. 

The incident happened on December 5, 2017, at a junction near Hare Hatch. 

Gladys Goodwin, 91, died when PC Dixon crashed into the side of a Toyota car that she was a passenger in. PC Dixon was taking part in a surveillance techniques exercise with HRMC personnel. 

Last month, the driver of the Toyota, Agne Jasulaitiene was cleared of two counts of causing death by careless driving. 

The Independent Office for Police Conduct carried out a review of the risk assessment processes that should be used during joint training exercises. It looked at the planning and preparation for the training exercise and also considered whether PC Dixon’s driving may have contributed to the collision. 

More than 40 witness statements were gathered from police and HMRC officers and members of the public. 

It concluded that there was no indication any police officer behaved in a manner that would justify the bringing of disciplinary proceedings or had committed a criminal offence. It was also felt that the risk assessments were carried out correctly. 

The IOPC report noted: “We identified an apparent confusion around police exemptions regarding speed being applied by officers.

“All those involved in training exercises need to have a common understanding of the parameters that impact on risk assessments and safety. 

“We also concluded that any future training exercises may benefit from a more collaborative approach to risk assessments being taken between HMRC and the assisting force.”

In a statement, IOPC Regional Director Sarah Green said: “Following the conclusion of the recent criminal trial, I extend my condolences to the families and everyone affected by the death of Gladys Goodwin and PC James Dixon.

“At the end our investigation we provided our findings to TVP and HMRC and offered to arrange a debrief to discuss organisational learning which needed to be addressed by the agencies involved in this training exercise. This was delayed until the conclusion of the criminal trial. Now all proceedings have concluded we will go ahead with arranging this.

“We found that although the training exercise PC Dixon was taking part in did adhere to policy and procedures, improvements could be made to ensure all officers are aware of when speed exemptions are applicable or not.”

And Thames Valley Police said that the review had been ordered by Thames Valley Police immediately after the fatal collision. 

In a statement, the force said: “As is right and proper, evaluation of this incident has been ongoing and any way to improve risk assessments and current policies, despite actions on the day being in line with them, have been established and are welcomed to improve the safety of our officers and staff, our partners and the wider community.

“Further, as has been established by the report from the Independent Office for Police Conduct, there was no indication any police officer behaved in a manner that would justify the bringing of disciplinary proceedings or had committed a criminal offence. It also found the risk assessments on that day were carried out in line with policy.

“Any learning and improvements is being communicated nationally.”

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