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Tuesday, 23 April, 2002, 09:46 GMT 10:46 UK
Police chief accused of safety breaches
Sir John Stevens
If convicted Sir John Stevens faces an unlimited fine
The head of the Metropolitan Police, Sir John Stevens, is facing prosecution after two officers fell through roofs while chasing suspects.

PC Kulwant Sidhu died after plunging through a glass panel on the roof of an industrial building in Twickenham, south-west London in October 1999.

In May 2000 PC Mark Berwick injured himself falling through the roof of a building in Neasden, north-west London.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is prosecuting Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens and his predecessor Lord Condon for alleged safety breaches.

PC Kulwant Sidhu
PC Kulwant Sidhu died after falling through a roof

If convicted the pair could face an unlimited fine.

They are accused under section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

The legislation was amended to classify police officers as employees of the relevant chief officer, rather than the force.

An HSE spokesman said the prosecution followed "a lengthy investigation" into whether the Metropolitan Police had sufficiently protected officers from the dangers of falling from or through roofs while chasing suspects.

He said Lord Condon was charged with failing to ensure "so far as is reasonably practicable," the health, safety and welfare of PC Sidhu.

'Deeply regrettable'

Sir John was charged with a similar offence relating to PC Berwick.

Scotland Yard said it would be "taking legal advice" on its position following the summonses.

"The death of PC Sidhu and the injuries sustained by PC Berwick are deeply regrettable," a spokesman said.

"The Metropolitan Police is not in a position to discuss the summonses as the matter is now sub judice."

The first hearing will take place on 8 May at City of London Magistrates' Court.

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06 Mar 02 | England
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