Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - formerly IPCC)
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Officers acted appropriately prior to fatal Waltham Abbey collision

Officers acted appropriately, following policies and procedures during a pursuit prior to a fatal road traffic collision in Essex, an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation concluded.

The collision occurred on 28 March 2019 in Parklands, Waltham Abbey, when a Vauxhall Corsa, which had failed to stop for police, collided with a Vauxhall Mokka and a Range Rover, killing the driver of the Corsa, 31-year-old Jessica Ladkin (also known as Jessica Michael). The driver of the Mokka sustained serious life-changing injuries.

We established that a police car from the combined Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Road Policing Unit had been following the Corsa after it was identified as being uninsured. Officers made two attempts to stop the Corsa before the collision.

IOPC investigators attended the scene at the time and the police post incident procedure. We gathered and assessed evidence including the incident data recorder (IDR), radio communications, dashcam footage captured from the Vauxhall Mokka, CCTV, body worn video footage, statements from the officers involved and witness statements. 

Our six-month investigation concluded that there was no indication that any of the officers may have committed a criminal offence or behaved in a manner justifying the bringing of disciplinary proceedings. All officers were treated as witnesses throughout.

An inquest jury at Chelmsford Coroners Court on Monday, 20 September, returned a finding of death by road traffic collision for Ms Ladkin.

Regional Director Graham Beesley said:

“The consequences of this incident are tragic and my thoughts are with Ms Ladkin’s family and all those who were affected by the events that evening. 

“When fatal road traffic incidents involving the police occur, it is important we establish the circumstances surrounding them. Having conducted a thorough investigation we found the officers’ involved followed policies and procedures during the pursuit which lasted under a minute.”

Hertfordshire Constabulary made a mandatory referral following the collision in March 2019 as is standard in cases where a death has occurred following police contact. 

Prior to Ms Ladkin’s inquest, we provided our investigation report to family members, Hertfordshire Constabulary and HM Coroner.

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