Jump to content

Row erupts after IOPC halts 'shambolic' six-year inquiry


Recommended Posts

Federation lead says IOPC 'has serious case to answer' for lack of competence during six-year investigation.


Jim Mallen: 'The public will be outraged at the cost of this investigation to the taxpayer'

Date - 21st February 2020
By - Chris Smith

Bedfordshire Police and the Police Federation have criticised the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) for its investigation into the death of Leon Briggs in Luton in November 2013 after a misconduct hearing involving a number of officers collapsed.

The misconduct hearing, led by Peter Nicholls, was due to start on 3 February, to examine issues relating to use of force and duties and responsibilities. But it was discontinued after legal arguments. The panel chairman is requesting a review of the failed IOPC investigation.

Bedfordshire Police had argued failings in the independent investigation had called into question the proportionality, fairness and the public interest in continuing with the hearing.

The IOPC in turn claimed it had been forced to drop the investigation because Bedfordshire had offered no evidence.

Mr Briggs, who was experiencing a mental health episode, was detained in Luton on 4 November 2013 and taken to Luton Police Station where he fell ill. He was subsequently taken to Luton and Dunstable Hospital where he was pronounced dead a short while later.

 An independent investigation was carried out by the IOPC and a file submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service which decided against any criminal charges in 2018.

Bedfordshire Police revealed the case against one of the officers was discontinued last week and that this week it had requested the IOPC review its direction over the hearing after raising a number of concerns about the IOPC investigation including disclosure of relevant material and the length of time it had taken.

The Police Federation highlighted that £1m had been spent on the suspended officers’ wages while the case was being investigated.

The IOPC issued a furious statement laying blame for the end of proceedings with the force.

An IOPC spokesperson said: “Leon Briggs’ family have waited many years for the actions of the police officers involved to be scrutinised in public. The last minute actions of Bedfordshire Police and the most recent delays mean that his family have been denied that right.

“Bedfordshire Police’s announcement earlier this week that it would offer no evidence to its disciplinary panel means that the hearing had no prospect of proceeding. As a responsible public authority confronted with these circumstances, we have regrettably and reluctantly agreed to withdraw our directions to Bedfordshire Police.

“To ensure public confidence in policing, transparency and accountability, we have always been of the view that the evidence should be put before a Bedfordshire Police disciplinary panel. We will continue to work with the Coroner to provide any evidence we have to the forthcoming inquest. New legislation which came into effect on 1 February means the IOPC will have more control over these cases in the future.”

Bedfordshire Police said it had no choice and understood the frustrations of Mr Briggs’ family but had a duty to act after six years of delays.

Assistant Chief Constable Jackie Sebire said: “Our thoughts too are with the officers involved in this matter who have been living with uncertainty since Mr Briggs’ death.

 “The force has always wanted a fair and transparent hearing to provide answers to the family of Mr Briggs and provide confidence to the public. However, we became aware during the initial legal arguments of failings in the independent investigation which called into question the proportionality, fairness and the public interest in continuing with this hearing. Those concerns, coupled with the likelihood of yet further delay to proceedings, which have already gone on for an unacceptable length of time, meant we were left with little option but to ask the IOPC to review its decision over directing the hearing.”

It added that the inquest would not focus on officers: “We must be mindful that there is still an inquest due to be held, however it is important to stress that none of the officers involved in this hearing were accused of causing or contributing towards Mr Briggs’ death.”

Jim Mallen, Chairman of Bedfordshire Police Federation, welcomed the IOPC decision but condemned the length of time that the case had taken and the toll on the officers involved.

“Six colleagues were suspended from duty for more than five years as part of this process. A cloud has unfairly been hanging over them since 2013. This has changed their lives, their family’s lives and the officers’ careers immeasurably. The Independent Office for Police Conduct has serious questions to answer about their handling of this case and the competency – or frankly lack of it – displayed throughout their investigation. At times it has been a shambles.

“Why it has taken approaching seven years for us to get to this point? More than £1m of public money has been spent on these officers’ pay while they were suspended – all they wanted was to be out there doing what they loved doing. Not to mention the soaring cost of the protracted investigations and legal proceedings and hearings. The public will rightly be outraged at the cost of all this to the tax payer.

He added: “This IOPC Investigation had numerous failings with regards to the disclosure process, that meant the officers could not be guaranteed a fair hearing. Once again this case highlights the incompetent standards of the former Independent Police Complaints Commission. Things must change and they must change fast and we are pleased that the work of the IPCC/IOPC is now firmly under the microscope of the new Government and all MPs in Parliament. Enough is enough.”

View On Police Oracle

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 years to make an investi9gation, really!   It is nothing out of the ordinary for the IOPC to take so long. Should a Police Officer take that length of time over an enquiry heads would roll.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Simply spelling out what we already know, the IOPC (and preceding IPCC) are inept and are not impartial at all, with a clear dislike for police. 

The money they waste is astounding, the conclusions they come to are usually bizarre and take a staggering length of time for them to present them. 

Worst of all....if you have a complaint about them, there is nobody to complain to!!!! 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the most likely conclusion is that the bulk of investigation was completed fairly quickly and efficiently but it undoubtably pointed towards the fact that the officers had done no wrong.  So the IOPC kept stalling in the hope that eventually something might be revealed that supported their own twisted agenda (remember that a significant amount of IOPC investigators are ex-police, it's the Commissioners who appear to have the axe to grind).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...