Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Police driver made constant risk assessments during Fife chase, trial told

Jack Brownlee is accused of driving offences and is on trial in Kirkcaldy.

Jack Brownlee.
Jack Brownlee.

A police officer who hit speeds of more than 100mph while pursuing an uninsured driver through residential Fife streets has told his trial he was constantly making risk assessments during the 20-minute chase.

At one point Jack Brownlee drove through roadworks at 65mph.

Dash-cam footage from the BMW X5 he was driving also showed him driving at 33mph along a footpath, speeding over pedestrian crossings and going the wrong way round roundabouts.

The 29-year-old told Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court that at no point did he consider the chase to be unsafe.

The footpath off Methilhaven Road, Methil, where the police vehicle was driven at 33mph.

The trial had previously heard from Inspector Colin Reid, head of driver training for Police Scotland, who said Brownlee should have swapped seats with his more highly-trained colleague- who was in the passenger seat – and the pursuit of the Seat car should have been called off at an earlier stage.

Brownlee was trained to “intermediate” level, which allowed him to drive during the initial phase of a pursuit but lacked the advanced driver training needed to bring it to an end.

Brownlee, who has since left the force to run his own business, is on trial charged with driving recklessly and assaulting one of the occupants of the suspect vehicle at the chase’s conclusion on Toboggan Road, Methil, on April 7 2021.

He denies the charges.

‘Subconscious’ risk assessment

The court heard the chase began after officers spotted the uninsured vehicle driving at speed on Methilhaven Road.

It was registered to a different man, from whom Brownlee had earlier seized drugs.

As the vehicle made off he suspected there may have been illicit substances on board.

Giving evidence in his own defence, Brownlee told the court for most of the chase he considered the risk to be “medium”.

Main Street, Methil – the residential street where the chase re-entered the Fife town.

Asked if police driving was normally more risky than civilian driving, he said: “Most definitely.

“There’s higher speeds.

“You have to take into account other road users – how they are going to react to you on blue lights.

“With the subject vehicle, (you have to take account of) how they’ll react.

“There’s greater risk in police driving than normal day-to-day driving – you risk assess constantly but it’s something you do subconsciously.

“You always have to take into consideration: ‘Is this risk too high? Is there a safe way to do this?'”

Shortly after the Seat took off, the police dashcam registered a speed of 104mph as Brownlee raced to catch up.

He said he considered the pursuit to be “a medium risk” at this point.

Toboggan Road, where the police chase ended.

He added: “They weren’t going head on with other cars.

“They weren’t putting the public in danger and with the police car behind it was making the public aware the it wasn’t just a car flying about town.

“When people see a car with blue lights and sirens, they stay away.

“It’s safer for us to be behind the vehicle than having him driving like that on his own.”

He added the raised driver position of the X5 gave him a better view of the road beyond the Seat.

Chase briefly became high risk

He said there were only two points where he considered the risk was “momentarily” raised to high.

At one point the Seat squeezed between an oncoming car and a vehicle it was overtaking, causing Brownlee to slow as he did not feel he would make it through the gap.

Brownlee also felt the risk was raised as the chase continued through a short section of roadworks on the A915, although vehicles at both sets of traffic lights were stationary.

Police lights on car

Brownlee and his partner PC Michael Rodgers were joined by PC Michael Greig and PC Craig Seath, which allowed them to switch seats so PC Rodgers could assist with bringing the pursuit to an end.

Asked why they had not changed places earlier, Brownlee said: “If we had stopped the (police) vehicle we would have lost the subject vehicle.”

The trial before Sheriff Elizabeth McFarlane will continue in November.

For the latest court cases across Tayside and Fife, join our Courts Facebook page.