Andrew Brown: Inquest concludes with criticisms of police driver and MPS training and policy
The inquest into the death of Andrew Brown concluded at West London Coroner’s Court on Friday 18 November 2022.
Andrew was struck by a marked police car at a pedestrian crossing in Hounslow on 1 November 2019. The police driver, Mr Daniel Francis had accelerated to around 61 mph in a 20 mph zone and had not activated his emergency blue lights or sirens.
He was subsequently charged with causing death by careless driving, and pleaded guilty, receiving a suspended prison sentence in February 2022. Two months later he was also found guilty of gross misconduct and dismissed from the Metropolitan Police.
After a 2-week inquest which heard evidence from Mr Francis as well as senior officers within the MPS and NPCC, the jury returned a conclusion stating that he “…carried out an inadequate risk assessment, in doing so he drove at an unsuitable speed and inappropriately decided not to use lights and sirens.”
The jury went onto find that there were wider failings by the MPS in respect of their policies in relation to the use of emergency blue lights and sirens, and inadequate coverage of night time driving using blue lights and sirens as part of the MPS’ driver training - and that these also possibly contributed to Andrew’s death.
The Assistant Coroner Dr Anton van Dellen has issued a Regulation 28 (Prevention of Future Deaths) report directing that the MPS consider reviewing its policy which governs the use of blue lights and sirens, noting that the jury had considered the policy to be “too open to interpretation”.
Andrew’s family were represented by Jag Bahra, a solicitor in our human rights team, along with Raj Desai of Matrix Chambers.
Mr Bahra said the following:
“Andrew was just a few metres from his front door when he was struck by the police car, suffering devastating injuries which he succumbed to a few days later. The jury heard that without its emergency blue lights or sirens on it would have been extremely difficult for a pedestrian to gauge the speed of the oncoming car at night. In not using them, former PC Francis took an exceptionally disproportionate risk. The evidence was clear that this, coupled with his acceleration to 61 mph on the approach to a pedestrian crossing, was a wholly unacceptable decision. The jury has also identified wider failings by the Metropolitan Police in that their policies and training around the use of blue lights and sirens by response drivers are both lacking. Andrew’s family will now look to the MPS to engage constructively with the Coroner’s Prevention of Future Deaths report, to ensure these inadequacies are rectified.”