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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2014 14:28 
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:gatso2: From the Belfast Telegraph - Front page news, this exclusive story.

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/ ... 55229.html

Police officer faced punishment for 'eating an ice cream as he drove'

A PSNI colleague stopped for a break in Bushmills along the north coast in May and decided to treat themselves to an ice cream from a local shop.

By Deborah McAleese – 24 July 2014

The Police Ombudsman asked prosecutors to consider taking a criminal case against a PSNI officer for allegedly eating an ice cream at the wheel of his police car, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.

A probe was launched by Ombudsman investigators after a member of the public complained that the officer had stopped to buy the ice cream and then drove off while eating it.

The officer and a PSNI colleague stopped for a break in Bushmills along the north coast in May and decided to treat themselves to an ice cream from a local shop.

They then took the ice creams to their police car and the driver of the vehicle is alleged to have driven off with it still in hand.

The officer was investigated by the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (PONI) for not being in proper control of a vehicle. Investigators then forwarded a file to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) for consideration.

A spokesman for PONI said: "We have received a complaint about the manner in which a police car was being driven in Bushmills in May this year. Our enquiries have been completed and in line with normal procedure, a file has been submitted to the PPS for their consideration."

The Belfast Telegraph has learnt, however, that the PPS has decided not to pursue court proceedings against the officer,

It is understood the PPS wrote to PONI and the PSNI to say the case was a "waste of time".

Policing Board member Jonathan Craig described the PONI probe against the officer as "ridiculous" and "madness".

He said that resources would have been better spent pursuing "serious" cases.

"What is the Police Ombudsman investigating something like this for? Surely they have a lot more pressing matters to be dealing with than putting all those resources into chasing a police officer who might have been eating an ice cream while on duty," the DUP MLA said.

Mr Craig added: "This was a complete waste of time, money and resources. Complaints are made against police officers on a daily basis and some are mischievous in their nature. These type of complaints need to be filtered out."

However, SDLP Policing Board member Dolores Kelly said that while she sympathised with the officer, if he broke the law then it was correct and proper for PONI to investigate.

"Strictly speaking, what this officer is alleged to have done was not within the law and therefore it is the job of the Police Ombudsman to investigate that. I know it is something that we have all done, but there is a very clear road safety message that motorists must fully concentrate on the road. Police officers need to make sure they keep within the law at all times," Ms Kelly said.

The case has reopened a debate over whether the PSNI should have authority to deal with more minor complaints against officers internally at a local level.

Policing Board members have raised concern over the number of complaints clogging up PONI's workload and the resources that are needed to deal with them.

Last year PONI dealt with more than 6,000 allegations against police officers. Almost 50 of those allegations related to driving or other traffic irregularities.

"Maybe it is time to have a mature debate around the matters that the Police Ombudsman should rightly investigate and whether flexibility could be introduced so that some complaints, such as this one, could be dealt with internally by the PSNI," said Ms Kelly.

Mr Craig said: "The PSNI need to be dealing with complaints like this one themselves and in an appropriate manner."

The PSNI was unable to comment on the case or say if any disciplinary action was taken against the officer.

UPDATE - Already a major talking point on the Stephen Nolan Show.

https://audioboo.fm/boos/2348316-pokega ... n#t=11m20s

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Last edited by CJG on Fri Oct 17, 2014 12:53, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2014 18:24 
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Location: Treacletown ( just north of M6 J3),A MILE OR TWO PAST BEDROCK
Reminds me of a post some time ago of a woman being done for eating an apple on the move, another swigging a cold drink whilst stopped at light and another eating a packet of crisps on the move. Not exactly equality in law ,is it.

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