Northamptonshire Police officer given final written warning after driving on blue lights without authority

The officer admitted the driving allegations
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A Northamptonshire Police officer has been given a final written warning after driving with blue lights on, without authority.

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This led to a gross misconduct disciplinary hearing, which was held at Northamptonshire Police headquarters at Wootton Hall on January 31, February 1 and February 2 this year.

The gross misconduct hearing was hosted by Northamptonshire Police at Wootton Hall.The gross misconduct hearing was hosted by Northamptonshire Police at Wootton Hall.
The gross misconduct hearing was hosted by Northamptonshire Police at Wootton Hall.

PC Watson faced five allegations, three of which relating to the driving, she admitted.

The ‘basic operational’ driving authority did not permit the officer to drive with emergency blue lights illuminated and/or siren activated, use exemptions to contravene road traffic laws and/or Highway Code, exceed the speed limit, disregard traffic signs, follow or pursue any other vehicle or stop compliant vehicles except when driving a marked police vehicle.

However, the hearing was told that on November 11, 2021 PC Watson was on duty driving a marked police Skoda Octavia vehicle and she was crewed with another officer. At around 6.11pm, she received a request to attend a grade one response and in so doing she activated the emergency blue lights and contravened a red traffic light, before driving in excess of the applicable speed limit.

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Following the incident PC Watson’s driving authority was removed by a sergeant on the November 12, 2021.

The officer was present at the hearing and admitted the allegations related to the driving.

There were also two other allegations, which the panel found as not proven. These included PD Watson speaking to a sergeant on November 18, 2021 and indicating that the information used to remove her driving authority was a malicious allegation and/or untrue. The allegations says she told the sergeant that she only used blue lights to compliantly pull vehicles over and she had not used any lights or sirens to respond to incidents. The sergeant queried this. A further allegation says that the statements PC Watson made to the sergeant were false. Both of these allegations were not proven by the panel.

The panel determined that the most suitable outcome was a final written warning for two years.