Watchdog makes ruling over officers involved in fatal Brighouse police car chase

Police officers who pursued a vehicle in West Yorkshire before it was involved in a fatal crash in Brighouse acted in accordance with the relevant policies, an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation concluded.

By Ian Hirst
Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 2:52 pm
Updated Thursday, 27th January 2022, 3:47 pm
Scene of the crash in Brighouse
Scene of the crash in Brighouse

The IOPC received a referral from West Yorkshire Police following an incident in Brighouse on July 17 2020, when a red BMW collided with a wall and railings, killing the two men inside.

The watchdog reviewed footage from officers’ body-worn video cameras, as well as CCTV in the area, and obtained statements from the officers involved, control room staff and paramedics who attended the scene.

The investigation, which concluded in July 2021, found the officers were patrolling an area of Huddersfield following reports of nuisance driving in the area.

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They saw a red BMW that was similar to the description of one of the cars involved and began to follow it.

The officers realised the vehicle was not connected to the earlier report but due to concerns about the manner of driving, they continued to follow it. At one stage, the BMW sped off, at which point the officers activated their vehicle’s lights and siren.

The pursuit lasted around a minute, before the BMW crashed on Bradford Road. Officers attempted to assist the two men, who were trapped inside, but due to the heavy damage to the car struggled to gain access.

They carried out CPR and were assisted by the fire and ambulance services once they arrived. The men, Mohammed Sohail Aziz, 23, and Suhail Akhtar, 20, were pronounced dead at the scene.

Following an inquest, which concluded today at Bradford Coroner’s Court, the coroner found the men died as a result of injuries sustained in a road traffic collision.

IOPC Regional Director Miranda Biddle said: “This was a tragic incident in which two young men lost their lives and our thoughts remain with their families, friends and all those affected.

“Our investigation was independent of the police and aimed to understand events leading up to the collision. We found the officers acted appropriately and, after the collision which followed a short pursuit, did all they could to help the young men in extremely challenging circumstances.

“The evidence we gathered was provided to the coroner to assist with the inquest proceedings, which we hope has helped answer some of the families’ questions about that day.” *

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