A TOP cop said her officers did everything by the book on the night a South Tyneside man was knocked down and killed, an inquest heard today.
Northumbria Police Temporary Chief Superintendent Deborah Ford was called to give evidence at the hearing into the death of Vincent Gibson.
The 50-year-old, of Shaw Avenue, Biddick Hall, South Shields, was hit by a police car responding to an emergency call in the town’s Whiteleas Way on January 7, 2012.
The father-of-two died from his injuries, and an inquest, led by South Tyneside coroner Terence Carney, is being held at Moot Hall in Newcastle.
Mr Gibson was pronounced dead at South Tyneside District Hospital, and his death was subject to an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission and Durham Constabulary.
Temp Chief Supt Ford explained the difference between call gradings and that the call officers were dealing with was given a Grade One.
The emergency response was to a man threatening to harm himself, meaning officers needed to get there “as quickly and as safely as possible”.
Temp Chief Supt Ford said she had no doubt that the call should have been a Grade One.
During the hearing, Mr Carney has raised concern over the mapping system which the police’s resource controllers can use to identify where officers and cars are at any given time.
Mr Carney raised questions over whether this map should have been checked to see if any officers were closer to the scene other than the ones who “shouted in” for the job.
Temp Chief Supt Ford said the mapping system that was in place at the time was unreliable and could freeze, but the resource controller was right to ask officers in the vicinity to attend.
She also said that since the incident, a new and better mapping system has been put in place.
Mr Carney asked if this followed a review of the equipment after Mr Gibson’s death, but she said the procedure of replacing it had already begun prior to this incident.
Temp Chief Spt Ford said she believed all police staff acted accordingly in dealing with the emergency call from a potential suicide.
The inquest continues.