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Met Police Collision Investigation: the cornerstone for justice on our roads

Posted on 24 April 2024

As personal injury cycling lawyers, and passionate cyclists, we take a keen interest in issues affecting cyclists. In November 2023, Rory McCarron, a senior associate solicitor at Leigh Day, was invited to City Hall to give evidence in front of the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee about how the Metropolitan Police conduct investigations into road collisions resulting in serious injury.  

Rory was joined by members of road safety campaigners from Action for Vision Zero, RoadPeace, Brake and another serious injury lawyer. The report was published on Friday 15 March 2024, with 11 key recommendations. Some of the recommendations we believe the police should take from the report are:  

1) Recommendation 2: The Metropolitan Police should review its guidance and training offered to police officers attending the scene of a collision to ensure they understand what is required and that all necessary “basic checks” are being completed.  

2) Recommendation 4: The Met should develop an action plan for how it will ensure all officers involved in the investigation of serious injury collisions are equipped with the most up-to-date guidance and training.  

3) Recommendation 5: The Mayor should work with the Met to create information guides to distribute to victims and their families to ensure they know what service and minimum standards to expect from the force during an investigation.   

Whilst the report relates to collisions occurring in the capital, we are hopeful that the recommendations will be taken on board by other police forces across the country.  

When a cyclist is knocked off their bike and suffers serious injuries, the police should carry out a thorough investigation of the collision circumstances and produce a report. This is a key piece of evidence in any ensuing compensation claim. Collisions can devastate lives and personal injury lawyers play a key role in helping victims and their families put their lives back together. Typically, victims have never dealt with the police or law firms prior to the accident, so they are not familiar with the legal processes. Victims put their trust and confidence in the police to conduct a thorough investigation into how they have found themselves in this situation, usually at no fault of their own.  

In the event of a serious injury collision, police should ensure that all relevant evidence is gathered.  This might include witness statements, CCTV, body camera footage, and photos taken to show the position of each vehicle. If this is not done, it can leave an element of doubt when the case is passed to the Road Collision and Prosecutions Office. If immediate evidence is lost, regardless of whether it is attempted to be secured retrospectively, the case is unlikely to lead to a successful outcome for the victims. A thorough police investigation, whether it results in a prosecution or not, will hugely help the victim in their civil case when it comes to seeking early rehabilitation and plugging financial gaps due to loss of income and more.  

At Leigh Day, we request and review hundreds of police reports every year. It goes without saying that the quality of reports varies from force to force, and even within forces. Sometimes you get a comprehensive, detailed report containing all the information you need; other times you are faced with blank pages and a distinct lack of useful information. This can seriously hamper or even prevent an injured cyclist from bringing a claim.  

Our co-contributors, the road safety charity RoadPeace, explain that “A good investigation is essential to achieving justice and reducing road danger – without this, law breaking escapes detection, fair compensation is hampered, prevention programmes are limited, victims suffer secondary victimisation, and public lack confidence in police interest in protecting them, thus deterring many from walking and cycling. It is the cornerstone for justice on our roads.” 

Rory told the Committee there is room for the Metropolitan Police to improve the evidence it collects, as in his experience “very basic information is lost at the initial stage” including capturing witness statements and video evidence. He goes on to explain “If an investigation is not conducted properly that has a material impact on the victim”. The criminal justice process is hugely important for victims. Whilst it may not provide the rehabilitation and financial security desperately needed due to the accident, it does provide recognition that they have been wronged. 

The report findings and recommendations are very much welcomed, and it is hoped the current Mayor (and/or his successor come May 2024) will take on board and implement these recommendations with urgency. Vision Zero plays an important part in making London’s roads safer and we believe that implementing the recommendations would further promote road safety. 

At Leigh Day, we represent clients who have been involved in road collisions. We hope that the Metropolitan Police and forces across the country will action these recommendations in order to assist us in bringing successful actions against drivers who injure cyclists and other road users.  

You can read the full report and recommendations here.

About Rory McCarron 

Rory, senior associate solicitor at Leigh Day, joined the firm in 2016 and has been representing vulnerable road users for over 10 years. Rory primarily acts for cyclists who have sustained life changing injuries, but also represents other vulnerable road users. As a daily cyclist with his primary mode of transport being a bike, he understands the immediate need for rehabilitation to implemented to maximise the best recovery.  

Rory campaigns regularly for making cycling safer and has been a key contributor to the recent Road Justice Inquiry Report. You can read Rory’s full biography here.