An investigation into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of two teenagers after a police pursuit has found there was no misconduct in the way Essex Police officers acted.

Reigan Knight and Liam Phillips, both 17, died after the Ford Escort car they were travelling in collided with a BMW and then a wall at the junction of Southsea Avenue and Glendale Gardens, in Leigh, in the early hours of December 27 last year.

The car was being followed by a marked Essex Police vehicle at the time so the force referred the incident to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

Investigators have now concluded the enquiry and have not identified any misconduct on behalf of Essex Police officers. 

A spokesman for the IPCC said: "The Ford was being pursued by an Essex Police car immediately prior to the collision.

"Police first came into contact with the Ford when officers signalled to let the vehicle out of a supermarket car park on London Road and decided to check vehicle’s details in the Police National Computer.

"At this point the Ford attempted to evade police, which led to police following the vehicle at speed down London Road, and into Southsea Avenue.

"At the junction of Southsea Avenue and Glendale Gardens the Ford collided with the BMW. Reigan Knight died at the scene and Liam Phillips died in hospital the following morning.

"The driver of the BMW received minor injuries.

"After being notified by Essex Police, IPCC investigators went to the scene to begin independently examining the circumstances leading up to the collision.

"CCTV footage, airwave recordings and witness statements were obtained and analysed alongside relevant policies, procedures and legislation including College of Policing Authorised Professional Practice.

"In the Lead Investigator’s opinion no indication of misconduct on the part of the officers was identified."

However, the watchdog has upheld a complaint about the information that was shared by the force.

In the wake of the tragedy, a press release shared by Essex Police incorrectly stated the teens in the car were in possession of class A drugs which led to a number of misleading comments from the public on social media.

The IPCC spokesman added: "A complaint from the families of Reigan and Liam was also investigated, relating to information which was issued by Essex Police to media shortly after the collision.

"A press release incorrectly stated that the passengers of the Ford were in possession of Class A drugs, which was corrected once the error was realised.

"The complaint was upheld, however the investigation was not able to identify how the incorrect information ended up being included the press release."

In March this year the 16-year-old driver of the Ford admitted two counts of death by dangerous driving, and was sentenced to four years in custody.