Norfolk police are facing questions after it emerged the force allowed an officer to drive fast response vehicles and carry a firearm despite him having been diagnosed with amnesia for a decade.

PC Karl Warren first suffered from memory loss while working for Norfolk Constabulary in 2012.

He told senior officers of his condition at the time but was allowed to remain in his role and later became an officer with the roads and armed policing team.

Eastern Daily Press: A Norfolk and Suffolk Roads and Armed Policing Team (RAPT) vehicle crashing into the back of an Audi on the A146A Norfolk and Suffolk Roads and Armed Policing Team (RAPT) vehicle crashing into the back of an Audi on the A146 (Image: Norfolk Constabulary)

Evidence of his diagnosis - and police knowledge of it - emerged at a misconduct hearing this week into PC Warren after he was involved in a hit-and-run crash in 2022.

He was behind the wheel of the marked BMW when he drove into the back of a female motorist at 50mph on the A146 near Beccles.

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He was subject to disciplinary proceedings over why he failed to stop or report the crash and whether he was suffering from a form of amnesia at the time.

The misconduct panel, which heard evidence over two days, dismissed the charge of misconduct, saying they had no reason to contradict a medical diagnosis that he was suffering from a form of epilepsy that left him “completely unaware of his surroundings”.

However, the ruling has heaped pressure on Norfolk Constabulary over why PC Warren was promoted into a frontline armed role despite his diagnosis.

Eastern Daily Press: The shaken woman driving the Audi pulls over following the crashThe shaken woman driving the Audi pulls over following the crash (Image: Norfolk Constabulary)Eastern Daily Press: The police BMW X5 armed response vehicle continues without stoppingThe police BMW X5 armed response vehicle continues without stopping (Image: Norfolk Constabulary)

The female motorist, who has asked not be named, said: "I do not dispute Warren's condition but I want to know how he could be allowed to carry on working in a job that carries such responsibility. Since his diagnosis in 2012 this was always going to end up happening. It could have been a lot worse."

The force has declined to comment since the hearing.


The crash happened on the Barnby Bends while PC Warren was driving towards Beccles from Lowestoft.

A second officer, PC Ryan Hargraves, was a passenger in the car.

Their marked BMW drove into the back of an Audi A1 at about 50mph.

The Audi motorist pulled over at the earliest opportunity, but the police car carried on without stopping.

She reported the incident and police launched an investigation. But the force initially said no officer would face any action, because PC Warren had been suffering from amnesia at the time.

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After this newspaper highlighted the case, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) reviewed this decision and said the force should pursue misconduct procedures against both officers.

Eastern Daily Press: The crash happened on the A146 Barnby Bends between Lowestoft and BecclesThe crash happened on the A146 Barnby Bends between Lowestoft and Beccles (Image: Newsquest)

Following a separate hearing in October, PC Hargrave was given a written warning for not challenging PC Warren at the time and not reporting the incident immediately.

Giving evidence in PC Warren's case this week, PC Hargrave said he had asked his colleague after the collision what had happened and that he had just mumbled "I don't know".

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Asked if he had thought PC Warren had suffered a medical episode he said he had appeared “bewildered about what had happened”.

He said that after the crash there had been no further exchanges between them before their shift ended almost half an hour later.


The hearing was told that PC Warren's original diagnosis followed an incident in 2012 when he was working on a case in Great Yarmouth.

He was taking a statement from a housing officer when - according to a fellow police officer who was present - he became "confused".

The housing officer described him becoming “very aloof”, going quiet, frequently pausing, and not “engaging in the manner you’d expect of a police officer”.

She reported that the officer had told her: “Hang on a minute I’m having a memory loss. This is not my case.”

Eastern Daily Press: The case against PC Warren Hargrave was found not proven at a misconduct hearingThe case against PC Warren Hargrave was found not proven at a misconduct hearing (Image: Newsquest)

After informing superiors, PC Warren was referred to the occupational health department and was later diagnosed as having suffered Transient Global Amnesia (TGA), a form of temporary memory loss.

Medical opinion at the time was that “there need not be any restriction on his activities”, the misconduct hearing was told.

Dr Pablo Garcia Reitbeck, consultant neurologist at St George’s Hospital in London, told the panel it had been seen as a one-off episode and that a diagnosis of TGA meant he did not need to surrender his driving licence.


The misconduct hearing was told after the hit-and-run collision in 2022 he had suffered two further episodes in 2022.

His wife had reported him experiencing “loss of awareness and mild confusion”, one in a supermarket car park and another while parking at his mother-in-laws. 

He had reportedly experienced a further 13 episodes of “increasing frequency” in 2023, the panel was told.

Dr Reitbeck said more recent seizures experienced by the officer had led to a more accurate diagnosis of a rare form of epilepsy that left him “completely unaware of his surroundings” and with no memory.

His behaviour during and after the March 2022 crash was consistent with this new diagnosis, he added.


During the hearing, Andrew Waters,  counsel for Norfolk Constabulary, argued that PC Warren’s action following the collision had amounted to gross misconduct.

Mr Waters said there was good reason for the panel to depart from medical evidence. 

Neurological conditions were based on an opinion and not obvious fact and an epileptic episode relied on the recollections of either the person experiencing it or of third parties, he said. 

He said following the collision PC Warren had driven more than 18 miles from the scene at Barnaby Bends to the Old Feathers pub on the A146 at Framingham Pigot, the next place where he could recall driving.

Eastern Daily Press: PC Ryan Hargrave who was a passenger in the car was given a written warning at a separate misconduct casePC Ryan Hargrave who was a passenger in the car was given a written warning at a separate misconduct case (Image: Newsquest)

His ability to drive for that period of time was inconsistent with an epileptic seizure, said Mr Waters.

But Dr Reitbeck said he would have been able to drive but may have no memory of it and there was likely to be a period of confusion following an epileptic seizure.

Mr Ireland said the prosecution had to “prove it is likely that the officer had awareness of the accident, more likely than not”. 

“And more likely than not having had that awareness and memory of the accident occurring should have done something about it,” he added.


Colin Banham, counsel for PC Warren, said the expert evidence had “not been undermined or disproved”.

“You have to be given clear and compelling reasons to reject the expert evidence and they just don’t exist in this case,” he added.

He told the hearing the officer had complied with all medical requirements and, following his epileptic diagnosis, had informed police and the DVLA and is no longer able to drive.

He has since been placed on restricted duties that don’t include active investigations or dealing with the public.

The disciplinary panel dismissed charges of gross misconduct and said that PC Warren should face no further action.

He remains employed by Norfolk police.


The female motorist involved in the crash said: "I am disappointed that the hearing did not delve a lot deeper into this case. I do feel like we are only getting a small part of the story. 

"The whole process has been poorly handled by the police. I have felt throughout that their first instinct was to look after the two officers involved, not me - the victim. 

"There are a lot of unanswered questions. But I have lost all faith in the force and I doubt they will change or learn one bit."

Mr Banham said despite being charged of misconduct PC Warren had effectively lost his career and was still suffering seizures requirement strong medication.

“The officer has been through hell. He's been through diagnosis. He's no longer carrying [firearms] and he's no longer driving.,” he said.

"His life has been hugely affected.”

Eastern Daily Press: Norfolk chief constable Paul Sanford has said officers failing to stop after the crash was unacceptableNorfolk chief constable Paul Sanford has said officers failing to stop after the crash was unacceptable (Image: Jason Bye)

His wife Michelle Warren became emotional during the hearing as extracts were read out from some of the 50 pages of character evidence submitted on her husband’s behalf.

He was described as trusted, knowledgeable, honest and highly regarded by colleagues and that fellow officers described being “shocked” by the allegations and that it had seemed “out of character”.

Mr Banham quoted one reference as stating: “When I found out about the incident I was completely shocked. Never in a million years would he intentionally not stop at the scene of a road traffic collision.”

Another added: “Knowing Karl as I do if he was in a traffic incident I would expect him to report it straight away. He would never cover it up. It is not in his nature to act like that. He is one of the good guys.”

The hearing was told he had received several commendations for bravery in the line of duty including helping a man drowning in the River Yare in Great Yarmouth and a woman threatening to take her own life.


PC Warren has been supported by Norfolk Police Federation since the crash.

In a statement after the hearing, its chairman Andy Symonds launched an extraordinary attack on the media and the Independent Office for Police Conduct, which overuled Norfolk police's initial decision not to launch misconduct proceedings against the officer.

"As we heard during the hearing, this officer has gone through hell. Much of it in public and for a number of months," Mr Symonds said.

Eastern Daily Press: Andy Symonds, chair of the Norfolk Police FederationAndy Symonds, chair of the Norfolk Police Federation (Image: Norfolk Police Federation)

"Police officers are accountable for their actions - and we accept what we do comes under intense scrutiny - but there comes a point when scrutiny can frankly start to feel like an anti-police vendetta.

 "Certain sections of the media with the assistance it must be said of the Independent Office for Police Conduct - took it upon themselves to put his actions on trial. 

 "There has been no scandal. There was no hiding anything. He has faced up to it all. Karl sadly has a worrying medical condition. And is paying a heavy price for it."