AN Avon and Somerset police officer who investigated a road rage offence he was personally involved in has been sacked.

PC Keith James was dismissed for breaches of professional behaviour relating to honesty and integrity, duties and responsibilities and discreditable conduct following a misconduct hearing.

The panel, led by an independent legally qualified chairman, heard how James was involved in a road-rage incident with a member of the public on the A367 near Peasedown St John on February 15, 2018, while off-duty.

Following the incident, he told the member of the public, a driving instructor, he would be reporting him for driving offences and went on to investigate the incident himself.

He issued the man with a verbal notice of intended prosecution after visiting him at home the following day and then failed to secure evidence, namely dashcam footage of the incident.

He went on to give evidence in court about the member of the public’s dangerous driving, which he knew not to be true.

Supt Simon Wilstead, head of professional standards at Avon and Somerset Police, said: “The officer should not have been investigating an offence he was personally involved in and he acted wholly unprofessionally in his subsequent conduct with a member of the public.

“We expect all police investigations to be carried out with professionalism and integrity and this clearly didn’t happen on this occasion.

"His actions have the potential to impact on community confidence in policing, which is another aggravating factor in this case.”

Catrin Evans, regional director of the Independent Office for Police Conduct said the court case against the driving instructor, who had been charged with driving without due care and attention, collapsed after dashcam footage from his vehicle showed inconsistencies with James’s version of events.

She added: "There were a number of inconsistencies in PC James’s account of the incident when compared with the dashcam footage.

"It was clearly unreasonable for PC James to act as investigating officer when he was the supposed aggrieved party and for him to contact the DVSA.

"The panel found his actions fell below the professional standards expected of a police officer.

“Behaviour such as this has a detrimental effect on public confidence in the police service and could have cost the driving instructor his livelihood.”