A Bristol cyclist has accused police of “incompetence” after they failed to track down a driver he said was responsible for a hit and run – even though he’d provided them with footage of the incident.
The Bristol Post reports that Dr Richard Patterson was riding down Kings Weston Road, Henbury, on March 5 when the driver of a white van pulled out of a side road towards him.
Footage captured by his helmet cam and posted to the newspaper’s website appears to show Patterson being hit, but the driver ignored him and drove away.
Patterson wasn’t badly injured but reported the incident to Avon and Somerset police later that day.
Six months later he was told the force had been unable to trace the driver, despite the number plate being clearly visible in the footage.
“They offered no support, help or advice whatsoever, and ignored most of my emails,” he said.
“After six months they said the statute of limitations had passed so they wouldn’t be able to bring a prosecution.
“I made a complaint about this and they insisted that they had done everything they could to identify the driver – which as it turned out was to search a database and send out a couple of letters.”
A police spokesperson said: “Footage the victim provided to us showed he was not struck by the vehicle but does show the poor manner of driving and failing to stop.
“However, we were unable to track down the driver of the vehicle, despite making exhaustive searches using the Police National Computer and other intelligence databases available to us, which meant that we were unable to prosecute the suspect.
“Regrettably, because of the time taken to make appropriate and necessary checks, the time period we legally have available to us to make those enquires – six months – had elapsed.
“We urge anyone involved in a fail to stop or injury road traffic collision to call 999.”
In a summary of its investigation sent to Patterson in November, the force said it sent a notice to the vehicle’s registered keeper, but it was “returned to sender as the keeper was not known at that address”.
Attempts to contact the person with driving insurance for the van were also returned for the same reason.
Patterson described the police’s statement that he wasn’t hit as a “strange claim” and insisted that he was.
“I didn’t get any support from police,” he said. “I was only able to make an insurance claim for the injuries and my damaged jacket through reading advice on the Cycling UK chatroom.
“If it’s a speeding ticket, fine, but you think police would take a hit and run quite seriously. It’s not for me to conjecture or attribute blame, but it definitely highlights a problem.”