PSNI right to damage car, says Ombudsman

Police Ombudsman's office
Police Ombudsman's office

The Police Ombudsman’s Office has rejected a claim that police failed to make reasonable efforts to avoid having to damage a parked car which was blocking a fire engine on its way to a blaze.

The incident occurred in Portrush over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend.

A man complained that police had not tried hard enough to find the car’s owner before allowing a window to be broken so that it could be pushed out of the way.

He also claimed that an officer had been condescending and rude towards him, telling him that it was a life and death situation, even though nobody had been evacuated from the building next door to the fire.

However, when a Police Ombudsman investigator examined police records, he found that the fire had been classed as a major incident and had been attended by all three emergency services.

Residents of a nearby care home had been moved to the ground floor of the building, and steps had been taken to prepare for a full evacuation if necessary.

Police records also showed that there had been a fear of buildings collapsing.

The investigator found that police had made reasonable efforts to locate the owner of the car and concluded there had been no misconduct in the way police had managed the incident.