A FORMER police officer guilty of careless driving while on an emergency call should never have been prosecuted, a union boss said.

Russell Kyle hit tourist Gary Paterson on Brighton seafront, but was responding to a major incident that he feared could have been a terrorist attack.

The 32-year-old admitted careless driving in court and faced misconduct proceedings which were dropped when he resigned from the force due to stress.

But Sussex Police Federation chairman Matt Webb fears officers face “persecution” just for carrying out the role in the way they were trained to do.

Last month a watchdog probe by the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC) closed its misconduct investigation.

Following the announcement, Inspector Webb said officers have “no protection” from the law on emergency calls.

He said the federation has called for the law to be changed to give police officers driving during emergencies better protection to ensure that in these cases they are not judged by the same standards as the average motorist on a routine journey.

Insp Webb said: “PC Kyle should never have been charged.

“How can it be in the public interest for an officer who thought he was responding to a marauding terrorist attack in the city centre to be charged with a driving offence?

“The law continues to leave officers in danger. It gives no protection for officers on a blue-light driving run, if they drive to the standard they are trained to.

“Ultimately if this persecution of officers continues, officers could end up not responding to calls because they fear jeopardising their own livelihood. That cannot be good for the policing of communities and wider society.

“Officers should be protected to fulfil their duties using the skills and training they have been given.”

Former PC Kyle left the force in March after the incident in September 2017.

Mr Paterson suffered broken ribs and cuts to his face in the accident.

Earlier this year Mr Kyle was presented with an award alongside PC James Huntley.

The duo were on holiday in Bulgaria when they found a collapsed seven-year-old girl. They carried out CPR treatment and found medical help.

Last month the IOPC said: “Having carefully considered the unique facts surrounding this case, and in light of the officer’s resignation, we do not consider it proportionate to progress this matter further. As the officer has resigned this matter is now closed.”