Henry Hicks: Police officers not in breach of police policy
Four officers involved in Henry Hicks chase to remain in the police force
20 October, 2017 — By Emily Finch
Henry Hicks who died three years ago when his moped crashed
A four-day gross misconduct hearing into the four officers who followed a popular Angel teenager on his moped found the officers were not in breach of police policy when he crashed and died three years ago.
The chair, Elaine Herlihy, announced on Friday, that the four officers involved in following Henry Hicks on December 19, 2014 were not in pursuit of the teenager and therefore did not have to seek permission from central command. She said the officers in the two unmarked police cars never got close enough to Henry’s moped to signal for him to stop.
The findings differ from the results of a inquest into the teenager’s death last year which ruled Henry was aware he was being pursued.
The officers, only known as Officer A, B, C, D were granted anonymity throughout the hearing and gave evidence from behind a blue screen – they remained silent while the results were read out by Ms Herlihy.
Henry’s family left the hearing shortly after the verdict was given.
During the hearing, the chair heard how accounts of the officers changed following Henry’s crash on Wheelwright Street. The hearing heard on Tuesday that Officer A had told an unnamed officer one hour after crash that he had signalled for Henry to stop.
Of the changing accounts Ms Herlihy said: “We accept it was a fast movement dynamic situation and account of officers will not always be reliable or consistent. The distress of some of the officers at the time is recorded by some of the officers who arrived subsequently.
“They were met with an unexpected, horrific situation and the officers were involved in lifesaving attempts for some time. There had been no opportunity to prepare themselves. In such circumstances it is unfair to put significant weight on these accounts.”
She added: “Officers A, C and D were very experienced and participated in several pursuits – there was no reason to not seek authority in a pursuit.”
In CCTV footage shown at the hearing on Tuesday, Henry was seen driving at an average of 46mph down Caledonian Road shortly before turning into Wheelwright Street and crashing. In the footage, a Hyundai car driven by Officer A is seen travelling at an average speed of 42mph around 10 seconds after Henry’s scooter.
Ms Herlihy said the distance was “substantial” and agreed with a senior police expert who gave evidence on Tuesday that Henry’s style of driving was not uncommon from other moped drivers in the area.
She concluded the hearing: “We find consideration of all evidence put in front of us that they [Police Officers] were not engaged in a pursuit.”
The future of the four police officers who are currently not on frontline duty was not discussed and will be decided at a later date.