Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - formerly IPCC)
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Investigation concludes following fatal police pursuit in Manchester

Police officers who pursued a vehicle in Manchester before it was involved in a fatal collision acted in accordance with the relevant policies and procedures, an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation concluded.

An inquest which concluded recently (2 March) at Manchester Coroner’s Court, determined Thomas Connor, known as Tull, died as a result of a road traffic collision during a police pursuit.

We received a referral from Greater Manchester Police following the incident on Saturday 6 April 2019 in central Manchester in which Mr Connor, 19, died.

Our investigation, which concluded in August 2019, found the officers were patrolling following reports of a burglary in the area. They saw a grey Vauxhall Astra van that was thought to be involved.

After following the vehicle, the officers said they became concerned about the manner in which it was being driven so activated their lights and sirens to indicate to the driver to stop. At this point the driver accelerated away and after a short pursuit, lasting 86 seconds, the officers lost sight of the vehicle.  

Prior to the officers sighting the vehicle again, the van suffered a burst tyre after hitting a kerb before the driver switched places with the passenger which was Mr Connor who drove the vehicle back roughly in the direction they had come from.

Officers started a second pursuit when they saw the van waiting at a set of traffic lights at the junction of Broughton Lane and Bury New Road. As they turned the corner into Red Bank, they saw the vehicle had collided with a wall.

The jury recently concluded the death was probably caused or contributed to by the police pursuit but our investigation looked at whether the police pursuit was in line with legislation policy and procedure.

We concluded that while police presence may have affected the manner of Mr Connor’s driving, the evidence indicated the actions of GMP were in line with the applicable policy and procedure and there was no indication any police officer had behaved in a manner that would justify the bringing of disciplinary proceedings or committed a criminal offence.

The jury also concluded the decision to continue the second pursuit was not appropriate due to the speed the Astra was travelling at and because of the burst tyre defect but our investigation identified that the officer risk assessed during this pursuit and altered his driving accordingly by reducing his speed.

An examination of the scene revealed the bulk of tyre debris was found in Red Bank where the Astra crashed.

IOPC investigators attended the scene of the collision and where the officers involved provided their initial accounts. We also gathered statements from independent eye witnesses, gathered and analysed CCTV and police body worn video as well as examining information from the police in car data recorder.

IOPC Regional Director Amanda Rowe yesterday said:

“This was a tragic incident in which a young man lost his life and our thoughts remain with his family, friends and all those affected.

“Our investigation was independent of the police and aimed to understand events leading up to the collision. We found the officers acted appropriately and in line with procedures.

“The evidence we gathered was provided to the coroner to assist with the inquest proceedings, which we hope has helped answer some of the families’ questions about that day.”


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