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Police force and firearm officer fined over PC death

Date:
12 July 2013

A police force and one of its officers have been fined for health and safety failings that led to a constable being shot dead.

PC Ian Terry, age 32, died after he was shot by a colleague during a firearms training session at a disused warehouse in Newton Heath, Manchester, on 9 June 2008.

During a training exercise where firearms police officers where practising to apprehend armed criminals from a car, Ian Terry was killed by a colleague using a shotgun. PC Terry was role playing an armed criminal when he received severe injuries to his chest and was pronounced dead at hospital.

A training officer responsible for the course – who was referred to as Constable Francis during the trial to protect his identity – was found guilty of failing to protect his work colleague.

He ran a course with a lethal combination of factors, including the use of live ammunition in an aggressive scenario. Another firearms trainer, known as Sergeant Eric, was found not guilty.

Greater Manchester Police pleaded guilty in March to failing to adequately monitor the training courses its firearms unit designed and run.

Today they have been sentenced at Manchester Crown Court.

Greater Manchester Police were fined £166,666 and ordered to pay costs of £90,000 for breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

PC Francis was fined £2000 and ordered to pay costs of £500 for breaching Section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Mike Calcutt, HSE Principal Inspector, said:

"Ian Terry was a well liked and respected police officer, and a loving family man. He was shot and killed on a training exercise in Manchester by one of his colleagues. His death was entirely preventable.

"Today, PC Francis has been found guilty of failing to protect his colleague by introducing dangerous and reckless elements into a training exercise.

"Greater Manchester Police accepted its failings and we welcomed their guilty plea earlier this year.

"Today is an important day for Ian’s family, who have suffered an ordeal nobody should have to endure and who have waited patiently in their search for justice."

PC Terry was married with two children. His widow Joanne said:

"Ian was an exceptional man – a brilliant father, husband, son and brother who we will always be proud of. He was the heart of the family and always had a smile on his face. His enthusiasm for life was infectious. He was also a dedicated police officer who loved his job, and his career was progressing well within the firearms division of GMP.

"The last five years have been horrendous for us. We are a patient and reasonable family and all we have wanted from day one is for those involved in this tragedy to accept their portions of responsibility for what happened to Ian on 9th June 2008.

"We would like to thank the officers of the Health and Safety Executive who have worked tirelessly over the last five years in pursuit of the truth, and their sensitive, commitment and diligence which has helped us through this ordeal."

Notes to editors

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: "It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees."
  3. Section 7 of the HSWA states: "It shall be the duty of every employee while at work – (a) to take reasonable care for the health and safety of himself and of other persons who may be affected by his acts or omissions at work; and (b) as regards any duty or requirement imposed on his employer or any other person by or under any of the relevant statutory provisions, to cooperate with him so far as is necessary to enable that duty or requirement to be performed or complied with."
  4. Your attention is drawn to the fact that the provisions of the Contempt of Court Act will apply to this matter and a court order protecting the identity of the two police officers.

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