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Basque police union backs GPF over fatal collision

Archive image of the police interceptor Sir John Chapple, which was involved in a fatal collision in 2020.

The Basque police union Ertzainen Nazional Elkartasuna [ErNE] has voiced support for the Gibraltar Police Federation in its stance following the recent inquest into the fatal collision at sea in March 2020.

The occupants on a rigid-hulled inflatable boat were killed in the collision with a Royal Gibraltar Police patrol boat during a high-speed chase in Spanish waters.

After two weeks of evidence, the jury in the inquest found the two Spanish men had been unlawfully killed.

The GPF has criticised the position taken in the inquest by the RGP, which it accused of adopting a “hostile and adversarial” stance against its own officers.

It had previously received support from the European Confederation of Police and now has the public backing of ErNE too.

In a statement circulated by the GPF, the Basque police union said the suspect RHIB had failed to stop and the collision occurred as it carried out evasive manoeuvres.

“ErNE understands that every time that there is a death or serious injury as a result of Police intervention, there should be an independent investigation [ a reference to the inquest],” the statement said.

“This is done to demonstrate a transparent and fair process in order to establish that the police officers have behaved in a professional manner, whilst ensuring public safety.”

“ErNE wants to manifest its full backing towards the Gibraltar Police Federation, whilst expressing their concern at the verdict of unlawful killing at the recent Coroner’s Inquest, where it is stated that both police officers neglected their duty of care.”

“These officers were acting in support of their Spanish colleagues in order to apprehend individuals suspected to be involved in drug smuggling.”

“The minimum that these officers could have expected in this situation, was for their senior managers to have backed them up after their brave comportment during the high speed chase, and during the subsequent inquest, which could have probably changed the final outcome.”

“ErNE wants to show their full support towards the GPF who are acting in the best interests of these officers at this difficult time.”

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