A stricken motorcyclist was left in a ditch near the Northamptonshire border with a broken arm for close to three hours after a mix up between three neighbouring police forces.
The as yet unnamed rider crashed on the B645 near Tilbrook, Cambridgeshire, on Sunday, suffering injuries to his arm.
The small village borders Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire, but even though 999 was called at around 4pm, emergency services did not arrive until 6.40pm.
Today the three forces have all apologised to the rider after admitting there was confusion over which force should attend the incident and the matter has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) for investigation.
A spokeswoman for Northamptonshire Police said the delay was “unacceptable,” but said the incident actually took place within Bedfordshire constabulary’s patch.
She said Northamptonshire was originally called by the East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) shortly after 4pm, but during the conversation the call handler established the location was in the Bedfordshire Police area.
The spokeswoman continued: “EMAS undertook to contact Bedfordshire Police, however, they were unable to do so and our call handler contacted Bedfordshire control room on their behalf.
“Bedfordshire advised that Tilbrook was covered by Cambridgeshire Police and our call handler contacted Cambridgeshire where the incident and its details were handed over to them.”
However Bedfordshire police has today claimed Cambridgeshire did not attend the stricken man and the Bedfordshire force only became aware of this at 5.40pm.
At this time it scrambled a squad car, which finally took the man to hospital.
A Bedfordshire Police spokesman said: “We are currently working with colleagues at Cambridgeshire Constabulary, Northamptonshire Police and the ambulance service to examine the circumstances of how the incident was dealt with and establish why there was such a delay in emergency services attending the scene.
“The matter is being voluntarily referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.”
A Cambridgeshire Police spokesman added: “Investigations have confirmed that the incident took place in Bedfordshire. However it remains clear that a better response should have been given by all three forces.”
Richard Henderson, director of operations at the East Midlands Ambulance Service, said: “We took a 999 call asking us to respond to a patient involved in a road traffic collision outside the East Midlands region.
“The caller stated the patient had a lower arm injury so the call was categorised as non-life-threatening.
“At this time we were experiencing a high volume of life threatening calls across the East Midlands such as cardiac arrests and breathing difficulties and as a result, were unable to respond to this call as quickly as we would have liked.
“Paramedics and nurses in our control room made several attempts to contact the patient however the caller had left the scene. A call was also made to Kettering Hospital A&E to see if the patient had made his own way to hospital.
“We were subsequently advised by the police that they had taken the patient to hospital and we therefore closed the initial booking.”