Police watchdog reveals 'missed opportunity' after man died following high speed Calderdale police pursuit

The police pursuit ended with a crash in Shelf , Calderdale
The police pursuit ended with a crash in Shelf , Calderdale

An investigation by the police watchdog has concluded that an opportunity to avoid a pursuit, which led to the death of 29-year-old man, "may have been missed", but that it "is not possible to say" what his reaction would have been had he been stopped earlier by police.

A West Yorkshire Police traffic sergeant was on duty in an unmarked police car in, when he decided to follow a Seat Ibiza car being driven by Anthony Rogivska on December 14, 2016.

Mr Rogivska had stopped and entered a property in Mandale Grove, while the officer waited nearby.

Mr Rogivska then returned to the car and the officer continued to follow him before switching on his emergency lights. He failed to stop for the traffic officer and drove off at speed over a grass verge into Cooper Lane, Shelf.

Mr Rogivska continued driving at speed before crashing his car into a house at the junction of Carr House Road.

A passing bus then crashed with Mr Rogivsaka's car. The police officer requested emergency assistance and other officers arrived at the scene just minutes later to give first aid.

Mr Rogivska sadly died a short time later from his injuries.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct concluded its investigation into the crash in November 2017, which looked into why the pursuit took place and what alternative options were available.

The police watchdog waited for the conclusion of Mr Rogivska's inquest, which was held on July 1, this year, and where a jury recorded that he died as a result of a road traffic accident.

The IOPC revealed that the entire five-minute incident was captured on the police car’s dashboard camera, showing 39 seconds passed between the activation of the emergency lights and the crash.

The investigation also analysed footage from cameras on board the bus which collided with the car Mr Rogivska was driving, and the police radio transmissions.

An IOPC spokesman said: "The traffic officer – an advanced driver qualified in tactical pursuit – provided three statements to us, one of which was taken on the evening of the incident, and was interviewed as a witness to the investigation. He said he initially decided to follow Mr Rogivska’s car because of the manner of Mr Rogivska’s driving. The traffic officer also accounted for the decisions he made during the pursuit.

"We took witness statements from three police constables who had heard the radio transmissions and arrived at scene minutes after the collision. Two non-police witnesses also provided statements.

"We found that the officer was authorised to pursue and drove in accordance with his training. We also found that his decision to stop Mr Rogivska was in line with force policies and procedures. However, we concluded that the officer may have missed an opportunity to stop Mr Rogivska on Mandale Grove, prior to engaging in a pursuit."

IOPC Regional Director Miranda Biddle said: “Firstly, I would like to reiterate our sympathies to Mr Rogivska’s family for their loss. We also recognise that this was a traumatic incident for the officers involved.

"We analysed a large amount of evidence; the dashboard and bus camera footage proved vital to establish an additional account of what happened.

"Although we concluded that an opportunity to avoid a pursuit may have been missed, it is not possible to say what Mr Rogivska’s reaction would have been had he been stopped earlier.

As such, we did not find that the officer’s actions were in breach of professional standards, and that he had conducted the pursuit in line with his training and force policies.”