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Speeding policeman mowed down gran while on errand'

PUBLISHED: 18:35 01 October 2008 | UPDATED: 11:37 12 August 2010

Sandy Simpson

Sandy Simpson

POLICE have condemned reports that a cop killed a grandmother-of-three while delivering a birthday card to his sister but admitted it was quite common to run personal errands in marked cars. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is curren

POLICE have condemned reports that a cop killed a grandmother-of-three while delivering a birthday card to his sister but admitted it was "quite common" to run personal errands in marked cars.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is currently investigating claims that a 23-year-old Bromley police officer from Swanley was speeding with his blue lights flashing on August 23.

It is claimed that he was given permission by a supervising officer to run the errand using the marked police car. Receptionist Sandy Simpson, 61, was killed when the police car hit her as she crossed the road just yards from her home in Mornington Avenue, Bromley, at the junction of Gundulph Road and Homesdale Road.

Her family, including her childhood sweetheart husband, Pete, watched in horror as emergency services tried to resuscitate her. Her colleagues in Creative FX, Masons Hill were also rocked by the tragedy.

However, a former Kent police officer, who didn't want to be named, told the Times it is "quite common" for officers to run personal errands in marked police cars "as long as they are still available to take calls."

He said: "Someone might say 'Can I pop round to the florists because it's my mum's birthday?' or 'Can I get some milk?' That would be okay so long as they were in a position to take a call if need be and kept an ear open on the radio.

"I've given permission for that sort of thing myself and I've asked to do it as well but they would never be given permission to use blue lights.

"If the reports are true, this police officer decided to step outside of the parameters of that permission by putting the blue lights on. If he was driving dangerously, he should face death by dangerous driving charges."

However, former Kent police detective Nick Biddiss, said: "To use a police car for anything other than official police business is totally unacceptable. To deliver a birthday card is ludicrous, that's why we have Royal Mail.

"I can't fathom it. It's totally unacceptable. If that is the case then the supervisor should be suspended. The whole thing stinks. It's not a taxi service.

"There is a level of trust with police officers but this sounds like a lax regime. If someone had put their blue lights on to run a personal errand, it would be a disciplinary for me."

Speaking a month after his wife's death, Mrs Simpson's husband of 43 years, Pete, told reporters: "My wife was a wonderful woman. We are a close family and we are pulling together. But I don't have my Sandra anymore. It's devastating."

From April 2002 to March 2008, there were 227 deaths resulting from police related road traffic incidents in England and Wales. Commenting on the number of deaths, Mr Biddiss, said: "One death is not acceptable. You should never accept it. I would hope that each and every one of those deaths in investigated thoroughly."

The officer driving has been suspended while an IPCC investigation continues but no action has been taken against any supervisor at Bromley Police.

An IPCC spokesperson said: "We can not comment on this case while the investigation is ongoing. A police officer does not have to alert anybody if they put their blue lights on. There has never been a case of a member of the public being killed by a police officer in a police car not on official business."

On Monday, police constable John Dougal was charged with causing death by dangerous driving after schoolgirl, Hayley Adamson, 16, died after being hit by his patrol car in May this year.

Miss Adamson, from Newcastle, was out with friends on the night she was killed and one witness was so outraged by the incident that they had to be subdued by a stun gun.

katherine.nelson@archant.co.uk

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