Police officer, 51, with almost 20 years of experience quits in disgust after he was hounded for leaving his patrol car in gear and accidentally knocking over the suspect
- PC Lee Rumsey left his patrol car in gear and accidentally knocked into suspect
- He faced a charge of dangerous driving but was cleared by a jury in two hours
- But Mr Rumsey was still facing a disciplinary hearing for gross misconduct
- The traffic officer has now quit in disgust and now plans to become a lorry driver
PC Lee Rumsey, pictured above with Barbara Windsor while on duty during Prince William’s wedding in 2011
A policeman with almost 20 years’ service quit in disgust after being hounded over a car chase.
PC Lee Rumsey had left his patrol car in gear when he jumped out to follow a suspected thief on foot.
The vehicle accelerated forward, knocking the man over and resulting in a charge of dangerous driving for Mr Rumsey.
However, the 51-year-old traffic officer was cleared by a jury in just two hours – including an hour’s break for lunch.
Mr Rumsey had hoped to put the episode behind him, but learned he was still facing a disciplinary hearing for gross misconduct.
To make matters worse, the man he arrested on suspicion of six offences did not face any charges following the chase in August 2017.
Jay Woodgate, 23, has been jailed twice for dangerous driving since the incident which ended Mr Rumsey’s career.
PC Lee Rumsey had left his patrol car in gear when he jumped out to follow a suspected thief on foot. The vehicle accelerated forward, knocking the man over and resulting in a charge of dangerous driving for Mr Rumsey, above
The former traffic officer, whose last day with Cambridgeshire Constabulary was on Saturday, said: ‘I felt so betrayed. They had one bite at court and then launched the disciplinary hearing, which was the last straw.
‘They spent £100,000 on the prosecution and are spending another £50,000 on the disciplinary, which will probably still go ahead without me, but they left this guy on the streets to commit more offences.’
The saga began just after 8pm on August 29, 2017, when Mr Rumsey and a sergeant in the passenger seat saw a Mercedes driver lose control at a roundabout in Peterborough.
Who would dare join the force now?
Peter McLeod, 42, from Sunderland, above, who told PC Andrew Jackson in August that he would ‘chop him up with an axe’ before punching him in the face, walked free from court after receiving a 16-week suspended sentence
Placed in dangerous and unpredictable situations, police officers are forced to make instant decisions which can have long-lasting consequences for their careers.
But while they face being dragged through the courts or disciplinary hearings, the job has been made even more difficult as the shrinking number of officers has emboldened criminals.
Richard Atkins QC, chairman of the Bar Council, warned that many are ‘going about their business unchallenged’.
Last month, Detective Chief Superintendent Richard Tucker of the Met Police said a violent machete attack on a constable was ‘a symptom of people having less fear of police’.
Just last week, career criminal Peter McLeod, 42, from Sunderland, who told PC Andrew Jackson in August that he would ‘chop him up with an axe’ before punching him in the face, walked free from court after receiving a 16-week suspended sentence.
The thug, who was on licence for an axe attack on a neighbour at the time, had previously assaulted two other officers.
Another policeman, Christopher Burnham, 48, is facing a ‘long road to recovery’ from brain injuries after he was hit by a Mini when he tried to stop it last Wednesday in Radford, Coventry.
A 37-year-old has been charged with attempted murder.
When they switched on their blue lights the Mercedes raced away. The officers chased it at up to 80mph through a business estate and then a residential area.
The car finally stopped after hitting a lorry, and three people ran away.
Mr Rumsey said he ‘tapped’ the driver’s legs with his patrol car to make him fall over – but as he jumped out to grab him, he accidentally pressed the accelerator.
‘My vehicle went up the kerb, struck the suspect again and went into some bushes,’ he said.
‘It was purely by accident. I said to my sergeant, “I’m really sorry, I had a senior moment”.’
Woodgate was left with a small cut on his head and claimed his shoulder had been dislocated – but Mr Rumsey said this was never confirmed.
When the officer learned he was being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission – since replaced by the Independent Office for Police Conduct – he said he was not concerned as this was ‘standard procedure’.
But Mr Rumsey was stunned when he was charged with dangerous driving and grievous bodily harm. The latter charge was eventually dropped.
When he appeared at Cambridge Crown Court in May he learned no further action had been taken against Woodgate, despite being arrested for failing to stop, driving a suspected stolen vehicle, possession of cannabis, driving with no insurance, theft of petrol and possession of a knife.
‘For 19 years I stood in the witness box to give evidence,’ Mr Rumsey said. ‘Now I was in the dock, like a criminal.’ He was swiftly cleared after a four-day trial.
The saga began just after 8pm on August 29, 2017, when Mr Rumsey and a sergeant in the passenger seat saw a Mercedes driver lose control at a roundabout in Peterborough. A stock image is used above [File photo]
Top brass who had ‘shunned’ him before the trial began to offer their congratulations.
But Mr Rumsey then learned from the Cambridgeshire Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, that a disciplinary hearing would still take place.
‘It knocked the stuffing out of me,’ he said.
Woodgate was jailed for 14 months last month after admitting dangerous driving by trying to evade police by going the wrong way down a dual carriageway.
He was on licence from jail after another dangerous driving offence.
Mr Rumsey is now planning to become a lorry driver. He was was commended for bravery while serving with the Met in 2009 after giving CPR to a dying man with stab wounds while youths fought around them.
He met EastEnders star Barbara Windsor while on duty during Prince William’s wedding in 2011.
An IOPC spokesman said: ‘Police officers have to use force in a manner which is justifiable and proportionate.’
A Cambridgeshire Constabulary spokesman said: ‘As this matter remains subject to disciplinary proceedings, it would be inappropriate to make any further comment.’
When he appeared at Cambridge Crown Court in May (above) he learned no further action had been taken against Woodgate, despite being arrested for failing to stop, driving a suspected stolen vehicle, possession of cannabis, driving with no insurance, theft of petrol and possession of a knife