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Watchdog investigating officer over death of man hit by police car

The Independent Office for Police Conduct is investigating an officer after a man who was hit by a police car died (Peter Byrne/PA)
The Independent Office for Police Conduct is investigating an officer after a man who was hit by a police car died (Peter Byrne/PA)

A police officer is under investigation after the death of a 27-year-old man who was hit by a Sussex Police car.

Arthur Holscher-Ermert had been on foot when the incident happened shortly after 11.10pm on Saturday night and was confirmed dead at the scene on the A259 South Coast Road.

The police watchdog said it has advised the driver of the unmarked police car which hit Mr Holscher-Ermert that he is under criminal investigation for the offence of causing death by dangerous driving.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said the officer, who is a police constable, will also be investigated for potential gross misconduct.

The watchdog said it will decide at the end of its investigation whether to refer a file to the Crown Prosecution Service to consider whether the officer should be prosecuted.

The IOPC said it had so far gathered evidence indicating that Mr Holscher-Ermert had been driving an Audi which was being pursued by a police car after it came to the attention of officers in the Newhaven and Peacehaven area.

They said the pursuit ended in Bramber Avenue, where Mr Holscher-Ermert left the Audi and was struck moments later by a different police vehicle.

IOPC regional director Graham Beesley said they will examine events leading up to the collision and police actions in the immediate aftermath, including reports that handcuffs were used on Mr Holscher-Ermert at the scene.

He said: “It is important we establish why Mr Holscher-Ermert was being pursued by the police including what, if any, information the police had about him or the vehicle he was driving.

“We will also consider whether the actions of officers afterwards were in line with policy and procedure. This will include looking at the aftercare given to him.

“We are aware of reports handcuffs were applied to Mr Holscher-Ermert at the scene and this will form part of our investigation.”

He said Mr Holscher-Ermert’s family has been updated and will be meeting with the IOPC soon.

He added: “We understand the concern this incident has caused in the community and I would like to reassure everyone that we will carry out a thorough and independent investigation to establish exactly what happened and why.”

The watchdog has reviewed dashcam footage from a member of the public who was driving in the area when the incident happened and are also analysing footage from the police car involved in the collision as well as body-worn video from officers who arrived at the scene.

Investigators have also been in the area to locate any other CCTV footage that might be available, and to carry out house-to-house inquiries to identify any witnesses.

The IOPC has appealed for anyone with information that might help to come forward.

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