The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has confirmed that a Sussex Police officer now faces a criminal investigation after a driver who failed to stop for officers was struck by an unmarked police vehicle.
The incident happened on Saturday 30th April at around 23:10 hours after 27-year-old Arthur Holscher-Ermert made off from police in an Audi on the A259 South Coast Road.
A short pursuit ensued, and it is reported that Holscher-Ermert exited the Audi that he was fleeing from the police in before he was struck by an unmarked police car.
Police officers and a member of the public immediately administered first-aid, but Mr Holscher-Ermert died at the scene.
A spokesperson for the IOPC confirmed that they had advised the driver of the unmarked police car that he is now under criminal investigation for the offence of causing death by dangerous driving.
Neither the IOPC nor Sussex Police has released any information regarding whether or not the unmarked police car was fitted with blue lights & sirens and, if it was if they were activated at the time of the collision.
The police officer has also been told that he will also be investigated for potential gross misconduct.
It is understood that the unmarked police vehicle was not involved in the pursuit.
Since the incident, the officer has not undertaken duties and has been placed on restricted duties that are not public-facing pending the outcome of the investigation.
A spokesperson for Sussex Police also noted that the officer’s suspension under police regulations has also been considered.
Supt James Collis from Sussex Police said:
“This is a tragic incident and distressing for Mr Holscher-Ermert’s family and friends. Our thoughts remain with them at this difficult time.
“While there has been much speculation, it is vital that all of the facts of the case can be fully, fairly and objectively investigated by the IOPC. That is the purpose of an independent investigation.
“We are providing every assistance to the IOPC to allow for a thorough investigation and for the family to receive the answers they need. We would ask the public to allow for the investigation to take its course.”
IOPC Regional Director Graham Beesley said:
“Our thoughts are with Mr Holscher-Ermert’s family, and with everyone else who was involved in this tragic incident and has been affected by his death.
“We have provided his family with an update into the progress of our investigation and we will be meeting with them soon.
“As well as investigating the collision we are also examining the events leading up to it and police actions in the immediate aftermath.
“It is important we establish why Mr Holscher-Ermert was being pursued by the police including what, if any, information the police had about him or the vehicle he was driving.
“We will also consider whether the actions of officers afterwards were in line with policy and procedure. This will include looking at the aftercare given to him. We are aware of reports handcuffs were applied to Mr Holscher-Ermert at the scene and this will form part of our investigation.
“We understand the concern this incident has caused in the community and I would like to reassure everyone that we will carry out a thorough and independent investigation to establish exactly what happened and why.”
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