Colney Heath cyclist's hit and run 'not an emergency'
PUBLISHED: 07:02 19 August 2011
AN ELDERLY victim of a hit and run accident claimed he was told off for ringing 999 after being thrown over the handlebars of his bike and left with cuts and bruises.
Guy Skinner, of High Road, Colney Heath, rang 999 after the accident in nearby Roestock Lane only to be told that instead of calling the emergency number, he needed to go and report it at a local police station.
And just a week after the accident, he was notified by a police civilian officer that no further action would be taken even though the motorist involved failed to stop.
Mr Skinner, 73, regularly cycles along Roestock Lane to go swimming in Hatfield and at around 8.30am on June 30, a car came out of Meadway and knocked him off his bike.
He said: “I swerved to miss it and went over the handlebars. The car behind me stopped and I phoned police and was told it was not an emergency and why was I ringing 999. I was told to report to St Albans police station instead.”
He went on: “I didn’t need an ambulance but was still cut and bruised. Everyone I have told has said I should take it further because a hit and run is an emergency.”
A week later he received a letter saying that all the available evidence had been reviewed and a decision reached by the civilian administration team that no further police action would be taken.
Mr Skinner, who has asked his district and county councillor Chris Brazier to take up the issue on his behalf, said: “There are all sorts of adverts about watching out for motor bikes and cyclists but the police are not interested. The local school encourages children to ride along there on bikes.”
He added: “I am more disgusted with the reaction when I phoned the police and was told to go down to the police station. Why would you think a hit and run was not an emergency?”
Cllr Brazier said he had been in touch with the local police officer and the police authority but had yet to receive a response.
He went on: “My strong view is that I flagged up when London Colney police station was closed that this would be a bad thing for locals with the perception that police were abandoning them and this case has highlighted exactly what I feared.
“I think Mr Skinner has been treated badly. Most people are educated to dial 999 in this type of situation.”
A Herts Police spokesperson said that as Mr Skinner had been involved in a “damage only fail to stop” incident he was asked to report in person to a police station within 24 hours which he did and the accident was investigated.
She went on: “However, investigators did not have enough information to progress the case further. Should more information come to light, we will reopen the case and would welcome any further information from Mr Skinner.”
She added: “Neighbourhood team officers who cover the London Colney area are aware of the traffic concerns around Roestock Lane and are monitoring the situation.”