THE DEATH of a 17-year-old teen during a police chase sparked an investigation into Essex Police which has revealed the force failed to keep staff training up to date.

Beau Duffield, from Benfleet, died in the early hours of November 13, 2021, after crashing a white Citroen Berlingo van into a garden wall in Pound Lane, Bowers Gifford.

He was driving with three other teenagers in the vehicle when a police unit decided to attempt to stop the van.

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A brief pursuit ensued and he lost control of the van at a traffic calming measure, leading to the van overturning and coming to rest on the driver’s side.

Mr Duffield died at the scene, while the other occupants were taken to hospital with minor injuries.

An Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation into Essex Police’s handling of the incident found a control room operator on the case had not taken pursuit management refresher training for more than 10 years.

“During the investigation, it was identified that the force control room operator for the pursuit had not received any refresher training on pursuit management since their initial course, which they had undertaken some ten to 15 years ago,” an IOPC spokesman said.

College of Policing authorised professional practice guidance states “all staff involved in managing pursuits should receive refresher training every two to three years”.

“The evidence gathered in the course of the investigation indicates that the force does not systematically keep records to audit compliance with training requirements,” the IOPC added.

However, the IOPC ruled that “it was not found that the operator’s lack of refresher training had any bearing on the outcome of this pursuit”.

The independent body, responsible for investigating the most serious and sensitive incidents and allegations involving the police, has recommended Essex Police implements a process to ensure that relevant refresher training is provided to all staff managing pursuits.

Essex Police is drafting a standard operating procedure to be shared with the IOPC by May 31.

A force spokesman said: "Local line managers will be supported in ensuring officers are signposted to those policies and procedures which might be different to the force they transferred from."

A coroner’s inquest into the death was postponed in December 2021, pending the outcome of the IOPC investigation.

A fundraiser set up for Mr Duffield’s family at the time of his death raised more than £2,000.