A Bradford police officer has been spared prison after crashing his car while being almost three times over the legal alcohol limit – the second time he has been prosecuted for drink driving in nine years.
PC Jatinder Dosanjh, 31, was given a prison sentence of eight weeks, suspended for 12 months, ordered to carry out 100 hours of community service and banned from driving for three years when he appeared at Leeds Magistrates Court for sentencing yesterday.
He could have faced time in prison, but a judge described him as an “upstanding member of the community” apart from the two offences.
The officer has been suspended by West Yorkshire Police and now faces an internal misconduct investigation, although the court heard that he was already looking for a new job.
Dosanjh, who was based in Eccleshill, crashed his Volkswagen Polo on December 5 in Calverley. He had been seen driving erratically by other road users, and went on to hit a wall and flip the vehicle onto its roof.
Dosanjh returned home without reporting the crash, but police traced him and he was arrested.
Dosanjh lied about his name and occupation, and police didn’t realise he was a fellow officer until 15 hours later.
He was breathalysed and had 95 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath – the legal limit is 35.
He was found guilty after a trial earlier this month, when District Judge David Kitson said his version of events was “littered with inconsistencies,” and raised the possibility of a custodial sentence.
A probation report prepared before sentencing said Dosanjh could become a target in prison because of his profession, and his career had already suffered from the guilty verdict.
The court heard that Dosanjh had committed another drink drive offence in 2005, although there had been no accident in that case.
Defence barrister Paul Fleming said the latest incident came at the end of a difficult year, adding: “Tragedies seem to have struck this family in 2013.
“Concerns and anxiety over this case have had a catastrophic effect on this young man’s life and career. There will undoubtedly be disciplinary matters that will follow.”
Judge Kitson had been handed a letter from Dosanjh’s wife and performance reports from West Yorkshire Police. After reading them he said: “There is no doubt that apart from this matter and the other matter on your record you have been a thoroughly upstanding member of the community.”
But he said there were aggravating features, such as the fact he left the scene of the accident, and that it was his second drink drive offence.
He said the offence was so serious there would be a custodial sentence, but that this would be suspended for a year.
He also has to pay £900 costs and an £80 victim surcharge.
Detective Chief Superintendent Andy Brennan, of West Yorkshire Police's Professional Standards Department, said: “We take all cases of drink driving extremely seriously. Police officers are expected to display the highest standards of behaviour on and off duty.”