Ex-police inspector banned from driving after car crash

Paul Barrett

Paul Barrett

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A FORMER police inspector has been banned from the roads after failing to give a breath test to colleagues.

Paul Barrett was arrested after an off-duty officer came across his crashed car near Chester-le-Street in the early hours of the morning.

At Peterlee Magistrates’ Court yesterday, the 37-year-old, from Newbottle, pleaded guilty to failing to provide a specimen for analysis.

Northumbria Police, who suspended him following the incident, confirmed Barrett had resigned from the force ahead of his court appearance and is currently unemployed.

Claire Brinton, prosecuting, said: “At 1am on July 29, an off-duty officer came across a road traffic accident at Chester Moor roundabout.

“A blue Honda Civic car had hit the roundabout and caused damage.

“The defendant was the driver and he was spoken to by the police officer and other officers were called to attend.

“He was asked to provide a roadside breath test and it was suspected he had been drinking.

“He refused and whilst at the police station he refused to provide a specimen of breath.”

Before magistrates were called in to deal with his case, solicitor Gerry Armstrong had handed in references written about the former head of Washington Neighbourhood Policing Team.

Mr Armstrong said: “This is one of these cases in mitigation where anything I say can be advanced by the defendant and those who know him.

“No matter how wise we can feel, we can all learn, and he has and will do.”

Chairman of the bench, David Balls, told Barrett: “Any punishment you are given this morning pales a little bit into significance to what we are told you have gone through and what you will continue to go through for some considerable time.

“This was a deliberate act, failing to provide a breath specimen, and you had been involved in a collision with that roundabout, so there is an element of bad driving involved.”

He was banned from driving for 20 months, which will be reduced to 15 if he takes the drink-drive rehabilitation course.

He was also fined £110 and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

After the hearing, a Northumbria Police spokeswoman said: “Northumbria Police expects the highest standard of conduct from its officers and staff and when these standards fall short, we will take the most appropriate action.”

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham