I thought I would wait until I saw what was in the public domain before commenting on this story, some friends of mine had attended this call and had told me about it.
Khaleel Rehman, 16, from East Ham, was knocked off his bicycle on a pedestrian crossing in Ron Leighton Way, East Ham, in the early hours of Saturday.
|t is a terrible, tragic, incident and my sympathies go out to all those involved. Whatever I write here is not designed to deflect or apportion blame to anyone involved, but just to provide some information that the media might not be aware of.
The main concern is that sirens were not being used by the police car. According to earlier BBC reports the accident occurred around half past midnight. At these times of the night we do not routinely use sirens – in most cases the blue lights of a vehicle are easier to see than trying to place where the sound of a siren comes from. We are also aware that people are trying to sleep – and so running around with sirens blaring at all times of the night would result in a large number of complaints to the emergency services.
Imagine also if you live near an ambulance station, or one of the popular junctions.
The choice is simple – do you run the sirens all the time in the unproved theory that it will stop an accident, or do you let the driver use their judgement as to when they are needed?
When I'm driving around at night I often see bicycle riders, and it seems that for many of them the standard dress, as it were, is that of dark clothes and no lights or reflectors on their bike. On more than one occasion I have had the urge to pull up alongside such a cyclist and remind them that what they are doing is likely to have them end up in the back of my ambulance.
Obviously I don't know if Mr Rahman had a light and reflectors, that will be something for the IPCC to investigate.
I'd would also like to point out how surprised the police are when they hear how little blue-light driving training us ambulance people receive, I believe that the police training is both longer and much stricter than ours.
I suspect that the IPCC investigation will take some time although police cars have comprehensive 'black box' recorders, so the facts should be simple to find out. If the driver was driving dangerously, then I would hope that they suffer the same sanctions as any member the public. If they are found not responsible for the accident then I hope that they can put these terrible events behind them.
I suspect that the media would only report on one of those two outcomes.