Police officer banned from road after he was caught drink driving

Kevin Downard was arrested in Stowmarket Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Kevin Downard was arrested in Stowmarket Picture: RACHEL EDGE - Credit: Archant

A ‘mortified’ police officer has been convicted of drink-driving after being pulled over and breathalysed on a Suffolk road.

Kevin Downard, 50, chose to drive after unsuccessfully trying to book a cab to his partner's home from Stowmarket railway station.

The Detective Inspector with the Metropolitan Police drank four glasses of wine before boarding a train from Liverpool Street on the evening of December 11.

He appeared before magistrates in Ipswich to admit driving with 42 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath - the legal limit being 35mcg.

Prosecutor Lesla Small said his VW Golf was seen turning into Gipping Way by an officer in a marked vehicle at about midnight.

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She said the officer heard screeching tyres as the car pulled away from traffic lights in Station Road.

Ms Small said the officer was joined in following the car along Navigation Approach by a colleague in another vehicle - reaching speeds of 60mph to catch up with Downard before getting to within 600 yards and illuminating blue lights as a signal to stop.

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Downard continued driving and turned into Gun Cotton Way before stopping in Lapwing Grove, where officers pulled alongside and behind his vehicle.

Ms Small said Downard then began reversing and made contact with the police vehicle behind - damaging the front bumper.

Downard failed a breath test and was taken into custody, where he recalled having dinner with friends and drinking four glasses of wine in four hours before returning to Stowmarket.

Ben Summers, mitigating, said Downard had exemplary good character, was highly regarded by colleagues and would never have driven knowingly over the limit.

"He is embarrassed, shocked and mortified," added Mr Summers, who said Downard could not recall screeching tyres, had not driven at speed, and, being familiar with police work, had continued driving under the impression officers were silently responding to another incident.

He said Downard reversed about a foot, intending to allow space to exit the car, not realising there was a vehicle to the rear.

Magistrates disqualified Downard from driving for 13 months and fined him £784.

The Met's Directorate of Professional Standards has been informed and misconduct proceedings will take place in due course.

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