Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Hayley's Family Left Waiting on Probe into Fatal Crash; TOP GOVERNMENT CRIME ADVISER SPEAKS OUT OVER LENGTH OF TIME TAKEN FOR IPCC TO INVESTIGATE COLLISION

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Hayley's Family Left Waiting on Probe into Fatal Crash; TOP GOVERNMENT CRIME ADVISER SPEAKS OUT OVER LENGTH OF TIME TAKEN FOR IPCC TO INVESTIGATE COLLISION

Article excerpt

Byline: By BRENDA HICKMAN Crime Reporter

THE time taken to investigate the police car collision which killed teenager Hayley Adamson today came under scrutiny from a former top officer.

Nearly a month after the 16-year-old's death and the Independent Police Complaints Commission probe is still ongoing.

Although the IPCC has kept Miss Adamson's family informed of the progress, questions are being asked today over the resources available to the team.

Relatives, including her sister Sarah, and dozens of friends want to know why the inquiry is taking so long.

And today Lord Brian Mackenzie of Framwellgate, an ex-Durham police chief and now Government crime adviser, said: "Demand puts a burden on investigators to carry out a swift inquiry.

"Some police forces refer cases to the IPCC to relieve the burden. The IPCC can call in officers from outside forces and experts to assist.

"For a road traffic fatal incident involving a police car and a small number of witnesses, I would have thought an inquiry would have concluded a lot sooner."

Fatal road accidents investigated by police would be expected to take around two weeks to gather evidence.

IPCC investigators are trained to carry out inquiries and have a system similar to the police force structure.

There are senior investigating officers, deputies and also other staff who assist the inquiry.

Each IPCC area has its own investigation team, but the Chronicle understands resources have been stretched.

Staff from the North IPCC area, which covers Northumbria and Durham forces, had been deployed initially to assist in taking statements in the fatal police shooting of a London barrister during a siege at his home in May.

And another high-profile case where a police officer was shot dead during a training exercise in Manchester is also underway.

Lord McKenzie said: "Ideally, a completely independent body, which has independent funding, would deal with complaints without the need to use police officers, but that would also be very expensive in the present climate.

"Complicated inquiries involving alleged corruption, or other multiple complaints have been known to take six or seven years to investigate, like the Cleveland case."

North East IPCC spokesman, Ian Christon, said: "The IPCC allocates the resources necessary to meet the specific needs of an investigation.

"In the investigation into the death of Hayley Adamson, three investigators have been allocated full-time to the job from the start, in addition to the specialist collision scene investigators brought in from Durham Constabulary.

"The investigation has proceeded well and without delay and is now nearing completion.

"Other cases may have more IPCC staff at the outset due to the specific investigative requirements. …

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