Police officer cleared of failing to investigate Cave Hill sabotage

Published Date: 19.02.2019

A police officer who was accused of failing to investigate the placing of obstacles on mountain bike trails on Belfast’s Cave Hill has had the complaint against him dismissed by the Police Ombudsman’s Office.
The constable, who had been investigating claims that obstacles had been left on the trails to cause injury to mountain bikers, also faced allegations of bias and ‘inappropriate disclosure of information’ by the complainant.
During their investigation, Police Ombudsman staff examined the claim that the police officer had not properly or objectively investigated reports of the trails being sabotaged.
The complaint arose amidst wider disagreements between mountain bikers and walkers in the north Belfast park and concerns over the safety of both groups.
Police Ombudsman investigators found that footage of a number of persons placing logs and other items on the mountain trails had been submitted to police who had taken appropriate action.
Police records showed that the officer who was the subject of the complaint had spoken to witnesses, recorded statements and viewed the relevant footage. He also sought advice from the Public Prosecution Service and legal services to ascertain if any offences had been committed and followed through on that advice.
Police Ombudsman staff also accessed records of a meeting during which the police officer discussed the issues in the park. They found that the officer had raised public safety concerns about the trails being used by mountain bikers and walkers at the same time but no misconduct was identified.
As no failings were identified in the investigation the case was closed.
A number of additional allegations, which included the officer attending the meeting debating the issue of mountain biking in the area and his interpretation of bike speeds, were found to be outside the remit of the Police Ombudsman.
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