Kent: Crime Commissioner Won't Be Prosecuted

Kent's Police and Crime Commissioner will not face prosecution for allegedly driving without insurance despite a police watchdog finding that she "may have committed the offence''.

Ann Barnes, was involved in a collision in Princes Road in Dartford, on September 16.

The matter was referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) which looked at whether Mrs Barnes committed a criminal offence by not having proper insurance to cover business use of her own car.

Investigators also examined whether a police officer was "obstructed in the execution of their duty'' when initial inquiries into her insurance cover were made by Kent Police.

A file of evidence relating to Mrs Barnes was sent to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) on February 17, asking it to consider the allegation of driving without insurance based on an alleged technical breach of insurance conditions relating to an accident which happened between a trip to a shop and a meeting.

A CPS spokesman said it was only asked to consider one occasion of driving the car in question and that it was not provided with sufficient evidence that Mrs Barnes drove the vehicle on any other relevant occasion, which would be fundamental to considering the matter in terms of alleged criminality.

He said: "Although some further investigation might assist in determining whether there would be sufficient evidence to prosecute this matter, we are not advising that any further inquiries take place as in any event we consider that it would not be in the public interest to prosecute.

"The alleged breach of insurance conditions is technical in nature and focuses on whether the purpose of the trip could be defined as business or personal and we consider that to be far from clear.

"In this case the insurance company did not consider that the conditions of the insurance policy were breached so as to make any claim invalid, and has indicated it will pay the claim (although in fact the other party was deemed to be liable).

"It follows that we have advised there should be no prosecution.''

He added that should the IPCC wish to investigate the allegations further, it would be a matter for them as investigators.

An IPCC spokeswoman said it had taken all the evidence into account, including information given by Mrs Barnes during police interview, and that it was their view that she "may have committed the offence on September 16, and on a number of occasions in the six months before''.

She said: "The referral to the CPS did not include an allegation that Mrs Barnes obstructed a police officer in the execution of their duty when initial inquiries into the PCC's insurance cover were being made by Kent Police.

"The IPCC investigated that allegation but decided there was insufficient evidence to pursue it.''