West Yorkshire highest ranked outside London for police-related death accidents

ACCIDENT: The scene of the crash on Huddersfield road in Wyke where brothers Sam and Christopher Blowman were killed

AFTERMATH: Thomas Tilleard, Craig James, James McCluskey and Robert Lynn were killed in a crash on Killinghall Road

TRIBUTE: Flowers at the scene of the accident on Rooley Lane where Bilal Khizar died

First published in News

MORE people have died in police-related incidents on the roads of West Yorkshire than anywhere else in the UK outside of London.

Statistics from the police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission, show there were 28 fatalities in West Yorkshire in the ten years to April this year in road traffic incidents involving the police.

These are defined as the deaths of motorists, cyclists or pedestrians arising from police pursuits, police vehicles responding to emergency calls and other police traffic-related activity.

Only the Metropolitan Police had more fatalities - 45 - over the ten-year period. In total, there were 309 deaths across the UK, according to the IPCC's annual report into deaths during or following police contact.

Last year West Yorkshire had three deaths in police-related road traffic incidents - out of 12 in the UK, the lowest figure for ten years. Ten of those deaths involved police pursuits.

Bradford has seen a number of high-profile deaths where police were involved in recent years.

In October 2012, schoolboy Bilal Khizar, 12, was killed when he was struck by a speeding car as he crossed Rooley Lane in Bierley. The Seat Ibiza sped off after officers stopped it in a lay-by. Police began a pursuit but lost sight of the Seat before the accident. The driver pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.

Brothers Sam and Christopher Blowman died when their Ford Focus crashed into a tree after a police pursuit at speeds of around 100mph, in May 2012.

They failed to stop for police when it was spotted travelling at excessive speed. It crashed in Woodside Road, Wyke. Christopher , 31,and Sam, 27, a soldier, both of Buttershaw, were found to have taken drink and drugs.

Three teenagers and a 21-year-old man died in December 2008 when the stolen, high-powered Subaru Impreza they were travelling in smashed into a fish and chip shop in Killinghall Road, Laisterdyke, and burst into flames.

Patrolling officers had seen the stolen car and followed it. The pursuit lasted less than a minute before the Subaru hit the building. Police were absolved of blame.

The IPCC report found that deaths in or following police custody were at their lowest level for ten years. For the second year running there were no fatal shootings in the UK. But the number of people apparently committing suicide within 48 hours of release from police custody was the highest in ten years.

West Yorkshire Police had the second highest figure for other deaths following police contact which did not involve arrest and were subject to an IPCC investigation. But in other categories the force fared well.

West Yorkshire's Temporary Deputy Chief Constable, John Robins, said: “We take our duty of care to the people of West Yorkshire we come in contact with - whether they are witnesses, victims or suspected criminals - very seriously.

"It is important to note that this force is the fourth largest in the country and our officers and staff have contact with hundreds, if not thousands, of people on a daily basis, often in difficult and challenging circumstances.

"Of course one death is too many and we always review the particular circumstances of the case."

West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, said: “One death is too many and I will ensure all complaints against the police are properly scrutinised.

“We need to do everything we can to prevent deaths on our roads. While incidents regarding road safety are dropping, we need to do more to ensure this trend continues."

Ned Liddemore, vice chairman of West Yorkshire Police Federation, said: "Our officers act in a thoroughly professional manner. They are as keen as anyone to ensure that the public whom they serve are kept safe from harm."

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