A Fife constable who drove up a cycle path in pursuit of a schoolboy and knocked him off his bike has escaped with three points on her licence.
After days of evidence, PC Kayleigh Simpson was told her failure to keep a safe distance behind the teenager’s bike was careless, not dangerous.
PC Simpson had been behind the wheel of a Peugeot 308 police car in Glenrothes when she was radioed to look for domestic abuse brute Kevin Spratley, whose car and “kill kit” had been found abandoned.
The 33-year-old spotted a cyclist, presumed it was him and gave chase.
When she activated blue lights, the boy failed to stop and pulled on to a cycle path near Auchmuty High School.
Then aged 15 – and unable to be named for legal reasons – the boy told the trial Simpson was using “fear tactics”, following him on to the path were she “rammed him”.
Simpson told the trial at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court she stayed behind the cyclist in first gear, reaching no more than 5-10mph and moved to the right side of the path to deter him from taking an exit which would mean losing sight of him.
She also claimed the boy, who was left grazed, told her he had fled because he had been smoking cannabis with friends.
However, investigating police said her manner of driving on March 2020 was not in line with police training.
Following a dangerous driving trial which began in May, Simpson was convicted of the lesser offence.
Sheriff Alison McKay found her guilty of driving without due care and attention, something the constable had previously offered to admit.
Absolute discharge plea rejected
Her solicitor’s plea for an absolute discharge – so no punishment is given but the criminal record stands – was repelled after a special reasons hearing and Sheriff McKay admonished first offender Simpson and imposed three penalty points.
Sheriff McKay stressed she was only judging the manner of the driving, rather than the circumstances or adherence to police protocol, adding the only witnesses to the collision were Simpson and the boy.
She said an absolute discharge was not appropriate as it was not the kind of “life or death” situation in which other emergency service workers have been convicted of driving offences while their blue lights were activated.
“The kill kit had been abandoned, the car had been abandoned,” she added.
‘Relatively minor carelessness’
The sheriff said “on balance” she had sympathy for the officer.
“The only matter that’s before me is to judge the standard of the accused’s driving. I’m not satisfied the accused’s driving was intrinsically dangerous.
“I do have to consider careless driving. In my view, she failed to maintain a safe distance. I’m absolutely satisfied there’s an element of carelessness.
“The cycle path is something of a red herring. The element of carelessness is failure to keep a proper distance from a pedal cycle in front of you.
“I consider this to be relatively minor carelessness.”
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “We acknowledge the outcome of the court.
“A report will be submitted to the deputy chief constable for their consideration.”