A POLICE application to protect its officers’ identities at an upcoming inquest into a motorway death crash have been thrown out by a senior Coroner.

The pre-inquest review was held at Bradford Coroners’ Court into the death of Yasib Ali Mahboob, who died in a crash following a police chase on the M606 on December 18, 2017, aged 34.

At the hearing, West Yorkshire Police submitted an application for the identities of some of its officers involved in the incident to remain anonymous throughout the inquest.

Ian Mullarkey, appearing on behalf of WYP, said: “Many of the officers have specialised roles as tactical pursuit and containment drivers, dog unit drivers and hub commanders.

“We believe their identities require protection. Should they be revealed they well be exposed to serious risk of harm from repercussions.

“A connection is said to exist between the deceased and associates in organised crime.

“Officers will still be present in court, behind screens, and will be cross-examined; it will still be an open court.

“There is a credible risk, and officers have expressed concerns if they were not anonymous the quality of their evidence would be diminished.”

However, Sarah Lyle, appearing on behalf of Mr Ali’s family, said in the 21 months since the crash, no threats to police have been made.

She said: “We hope the police are not making a broad brush approach to this.

“This occurred 21 months ago and there have been no repercussions. We have had no specific details of the specialised roles or why they should receive anonymity.

“No specific direct threats have been made to individual officers. There is also a reference to Yasib’s background and ‘criminal activity’, but this doesn’t apply to grieving family.”

After deliberating, senior coroner for West Yorkshire - Western District Martin Fleming, sided with the family.

He said: “The fears of witnesses must be taken into account, but there must be no presumption serving officers will be anonymised.

“I have very carefully considered the statements of witnesses and accept the concerns raised.

“But, there is no recorded history of threats to any police officers following Yasib’s death and 21 months has past.

“In the main it has been generic and no specific threats mentioned, and this does not measure up.

“There is no evidence of risk to an individual that could be said to be real or immediate. There is no evidence of direct or personalised threats or to police generally.

“I give greater weight at the moment against anonymity, but will leave it under review. Officers will give evidence openly before the public and media.”

It was also decided the inquest will be held before a jury, and it will be a ‘Middleton inquest’ - looking into the circumstances of the death and if the police could have been prevented from happening.

The two-week inquest is due to start on Monday, February 17, 2020 at Bradford Crown Court.