DURHAM Police will not face action from the police watchdog after opting not to prosecute an officer who drove at 140mph while transferring a prisoner.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has assessed the decision to discipline the PC internally, but has decided the force did nothing wrong.

The ruling came as it emerged that a second officer was in the marked BMW 330D at the time of the speeding incident.

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Durham Police said the officer, who was sat in the backseat beside the prisoner, was interviewed but did not face disciplinary action.

The Northern Echo revealed last week how a 35-year-old constable drove at up to 140mph while transporting a prisoner from Leeds to Darlington along the A1.

The prisoner promptly made a complaint about the officer's speed when the pair arrived at the custody suite at Darlington police station.

The force has been criticised by road safety charities and an MP for its failure to prosecute the officer.

But a spokeswoman for the IPCC said the matter had been assessed and was considered suitable to be returned back to the force.

Superintendent Darren Ellis, head of professional standards at Durham Police, said the force had recognised Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and Association of Chief Police Officers guidelines when considering what action to take against the officer.

He added: “The case was also referred to the IPCC who have contacted the force to inform them that the case has been deemed as suitable to be handed back to the force as they are satisfied with the sanctions that have been put in place.”

Supt Ellis said the CPS was also satisfied with the action taken and commented that the sanctions were “proportionate, sensible and within CPS guidelines”.

“They went on to provide very positive comment that the force had grasped the issue internally and had made strong decisions which they felt were appropriate,” he added.

Following an internal investigation, the officer was moved permanently from road policing duties, his police driving licence was suspended and he was made subject to an action plan concerning risk management and decision making.