A LIFESAVING police officer has been allowed to keep his job despite causing a serious crash while speeding.

PC James Blowers was found guilty of misconduct at a hearing yesterday, after he drove at more than 90mph in a 60mph zone while responding to an emergency in a marked police car.

The emergency response driver, based at Didcot station, collided with two vehicles on the A4140 near Wallingford as he lost control of the car in wet road conditions.

PC Blowers, a colleague who was his passenger, and a taxi driver all suffered serious injuries in the crash, which happened at 11.40am on January 2, 2018.

At a misconduct hearing at Thames Valley Police's Kidlington headquarters yesterday, PC Blowers was described as a 'standout' officer who boasts three commendation awards - two for saving members of the public, and another for protecting colleagues.


Police officer banned after ditching night shifts to have sex

Superintendent Rory Freeman, local police area (LPA) commander for South and Vale, provided a glowing testimony for PC Blowers.

He told the panel: “I would describe James as a standout officer.

“He is brave, professional, methodical and committed to self-development.”

The panel heard one of the commendations came after PC Blowers protected people from a man who was ‘brandishing a large kitchen knife’, risking his own safety in the process.

Supt Freeman said: “James is committed to the policing profession and has a genuine desire to serve the public.

“Within his team and across the LPA he is looked up to and seen as a calm, measured and capable officer with an ability to deal with challenging situations.

“He is an officer with outstanding ability and he has a proven track record of strong professional conduct.

“He has the qualities of a leader and...has a very bright future in policing."

PC Blowers has been successful in applying to become a firearms officer - something his defence counsel Colin Banham described as 'no mean feat'.


Sacked police officer wins fight to overturn 'unfair' dismissal

The hearing was told PC Blowers had been dispatched to an emergency call-out in Didcot that day and headed there from Henley, with a colleague as a passenger.

Thames Valley Police policy allows standard response drivers to drive up to 20mph above the speed limit, the room heard, and would expect them to drive according to the conditions of the road and weather.

The hearing was told a ‘stream of water’ on the road was an ‘unusual factor’ contributing to the crash, before which PC Blowers had hit speeds of 92mph.

An expert told the hearing that even driving at the speed limit in those conditions could have led to aquaplaning.

A statement from his line manager praised PC Blowers, who has previously served at Oxford and Reading stations, as a 'credit to the police service' who goes 'above and beyond' what is required.

Mr Banham said the proceedings against him had been a 'learning curve.'

He added: "He clearly had a desperate need to get there and the urgency in part led him to [speed].

"It was out of character that he breached policy by going too fast."


Police officer resigns after testing positive for cocaine

A colleague who submitted a character reference stated: "James is an officer I would want on my side in the most dangerous situations.

"Despite the collision, as a driver I would still be more than happy to be a passenger.

"I believe he was extremely unlucky that day...he is the last person I would expect this to happen to."

Harry Ireland, who chaired the panel at the hearing, said: "This was a single episode resulting from a misjudgement, one taken for a legitimate police purpose.

"It has been demonstrated that [PC Blowers] is a highly effective and diligent officer."

The panel recorded a finding of misconduct, and minor disciplinary action was handed down in the form of 'management advice.'

The officer has since fully recovered from his injuries and is now back on duty.