PFNI Chair's reaction to OPONI Report
The Chair of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland, Liam Kelly, in a reaction to the OPONI report into a fatal collision in Belfast in 2018, said: “This was a tragedy. A life was lost in a reckless act and the offender was convicted and handed an eleven-year sentence for causing death by dangerous driving.
“This terrible incident in which Ms Gow was killed happened in April 2018. According to an independent expert on police pursuits said the two police cars involved had been driven in compliance with police training and driving standards. The PPS directed no prosecutions of officers. The officers received management advice.
“That is where this should have ended. The officers were attempting to intervene and stop a dangerous offender. The focus of their actions was apprehending the driver of a stolen vehicle.
“This incident happened in 2018. The offending driver, Martin Alexander Nelson, went through a Crown Court trial and was subsequently convicted and sentenced to eleven years imprisonment in July 2019. In contrast it has taken OPONI more than four years to publish its report. That is abysmal. In all that time, this entire incident has taken a heavy toll on the officers involved. No account appears to have been taken of the personal distress and trauma that was involved.
“The Ombudsman has a job to do, but a little bit of understanding towards officers involved in dynamic incidents would go some way towards renewing confidence in the system which, right now, fails to deliver expeditious outcomes for individual officers.”