Police officers quit after Shoreham air crash scandal

Two officers have resigned after acting inappropriately at the Shoreham Airshow crash site
Two officers have resigned after acting inappropriately at the Shoreham Airshow crash site

THE two Sussex Police officers under investigation for inappropriate behaviour at the Shoreham air crash site have resigned.

Eleven men were killed in the tragedy when a Hawker Hunter aircraft, piloted by Andy Hill, crashed onto the road when a loop-the-loop manoeuvre went horribly wrong.

Chief Constable of Sussex Police Giles York had received a recommendation from Assistant Chief Constable Robin Smith that the two probationary police officers, investigated in relation to their behaviour following the tragic crash, should be dismissed.

The officers appeared before Mr Smith on September 30. He assessed the evidence and submitted a detailed report to the Chief Constable this week.

Both officers have since offered their resignations, which they have a right to do under Regulation 13, and these have been accepted.

Mr York said: “We, along with the public, expect the highest standards of professional behaviour. An investigation has taken place and I am reassured that Sussex Police has responded promptly and fairly.

“The men, who have less than two years’ service, are clearly remorseful and have acknowledged the impact of what they had done; but when it really mattered the officers failed to show understanding and compassion for the victims and their families. I am confident that they would not go on to become well-conducted officers.

“The police service has a national code of ethics that we expect officers and staff to abide by – including showing respect and courtesy. Officers and staff can be forgiven for making genuine mistakes, but the behaviour of these two officers was inexplicable and caused unnecessary distress to the families of those involved, for which we sincerely apologise.”

The force used a regulation process specifically for probationary officers, in line with Home Office guidance. Regulation 13 is in place to protect the public if officers demonstrate behaviours that show they are not suited to the job during their probationary period. Regulation 13 also allows officers to resign during this process.

Speaking to the Herald in September, deputy chief constable Olivia Pinkney said fellow officers were ‘angry and disappointed’ at the pair for their conduct.

Sussex Police have also confirmed that airshow crash pilot Andy Hill, is still not fit for interview.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Rymarz, who is leading the police investigation into the Shoreham Airshow crash, said: “The interview of the pilot forms an integral part of the police investigation, but at this time his fitness for interview has not been confirmed.

“Additionally, we are still in an evidence-gathering stage, with appropriate expert assistance, as we need to fully understand every element of what is a very complex subject in order to gain maximum benefit from that interview.”

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