Review called for over policeman’s dangerous driving court case

CONCERNED John Apter
CONCERNED John Apter

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HAMPSHIRE’S top policeman is today urged to urgently review the case of an officer charged with dangerous driving while doing his job.

John Apter, chairman of Hampshire Police Federation which represents rank and file officers, has raised ‘serious concerns’ about the case brought against PC James Holden.

It comes after a 12-strong jury found PC Holden, 35, not guilty of dangerous driving over his pursuit of a stolen vehicle through Portsmouth following a seven-day trial at Guildford Crown Court.

Mr Apter welcomed the unanimous verdict, but warns officers’ confidence in the system has nosedived in the wake of officer PC Holden being charged.

He said: ‘We are clearly very pleased with the result. PC Holden is a highly trained police driver who was doing the job he was trained to do.

‘However I have serious concerns over the fact that this case has ended up in crown court.

‘Police officers are not above the law but when they do what they have been trained to do and that then results in them being charged with dangerous driving then something, somewhere has failed.’

Mr Apter is now calling on Hampshire Constabulary Chief Constable Alex Marshall to review how the case came to be referred to the Crown Prosecution Service by the force’s professional standards department.

He added: ‘I am today asking the Chief Constable of Hampshire Constabulary to urgently review how we came to be in this position.

‘The fact that this case has been brought has caused police officers from around the country to be concerned that they too could end up in the same position as PC Holden.

‘Pursuit trained officers need to have confidence that their management will support them when they do what is expected of them in situations such as pursuit driving.

‘I’m sad to say that as a result of this court case being brought that confidence is lacking. I think officers are going to be far more cautious.’