Met po­lice ig­nores watchdog’s call to sus­pend cus­tody death probe of­fi­cer

The Observer - - NEWS - By Mark Townsend Home Af­fairs Editor

The In­de­pen­dent Po­lice Com­plaints Com­mis­sion has for­mally rec­om­mended to Scot­land Yard that the of­fi­cer who re­strained Rashan Charles, whose death sparked protests in east Lon­don, should be sus­pended, the Ob­server has learned.

How­ever the Met has so far ig­nored the ad­vice from the IPCC. The of­fi­cer in­volved in ap­pre­hend­ing the 20-yearold from Hack­ney, east Lon­don, is still car­ry­ing out du­ties as nor­mal.

The IPCC said on Wed­nes­day that the of­fi­cer was be­ing in­ves­ti­gated for gross mis­con­duct af­ter video footage sug­gested he may have breached po­lice stan­dards on de­ten­tion and restraint. Ac­cord­ing to its own guid­ance the IPCC de­fines gross mis­con­duct as a breach of pro­fes­sional stan­dards “so se­ri­ous it would jus­tify dis­missal”.

The Met’s de­ci­sion not to fol­low the IPCC’s rec­om­men­da­tion and sus­pend the of­fi­cer comes at a time of height­ened tensions be­tween the po­lice and the black com­mu­nity. The IPCC is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the re­cent cases of four black men who died fol­low­ing con­tact with the po­lice. Their fam­i­lies are de­mand­ing the im­me­di­ate sus­pen­sion of the of­fi­cers in­volved.

De­spite tes­ti­mony from wit­nesses in­di­cat­ing that the po­lice had used ex­ces­sive force and in­ca­pac­i­tat­ing gas in the cases of Ed­son Costa, from Lon­don, and Darren Cum­ber­batch, from War­wick­shire, no of­fi­cer has been re­moved from front­line du­ties.

Mean­while, the Ob­server has es­tab­lished that the home sec­re­tary, Amber Rudd, has been sit­ting on a con­tro­ver­sial in­de­pen­dent re­port into race and deaths in po­lice cus­tody for nine months. The un­ex­plained de­lay has prompted wide­spread con­ster­na­tion.

The re­port is un­der­stood to con­firm racial dis­pro­por­tion­al­ity in po­lice restraint deaths, and says po­lice must be held to ac­count at “an in­di­vid­ual and cor­po­rate level” if restraint of a sus­pect is ex­ces­sive, un­nec­es­sary or dis­pro­por­tion­ate.

Deb­o­rah Coles, the di­rec­tor of the pres­sure group In­quest, who ad­vised the re­port’s au­thor, Dame Elish An­gi­olini QC, said: “The dan­ger is that de­lay will di­lute the im­pact of the re­port and its find­ings.”

Omar Khan, act­ing di­rec­tor of race equal­ity think­tank the Run­nymede Trust, said: “The only ex­pla­na­tion for de­lay is edit­ing it, and it is hard to as­sume that it is not a di­lu­tion.”

The Cab­i­net Of­fice is due to un­veil its race dis­par­ity au­dit of pub­lic ser­vices soon, a col­lec­tion of data that is ex­pected to ex­pose racial in­equal­i­ties across the range of gov­ern­ment de­part­ments in terms of staffing and how poli­cies af­fect black and eth­nic mi­nor­ity groups. Khan said that de­spite such good in­ten­tions, he was still un­clear how the gov­ern­ment would re­spond to the au­dit. “This is the data col­lec­tion part. We don’t know if the pol­icy part is go­ing to come,” he said.

A re­cent re­port by Labour MP David Lammy found en­demic bias in the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem and con­cluded that pros­e­cu­tions of some black and eth­nic-mi­nor­ity sus­pects should be de­ferred or dropped to help over­come the big­otry they faced.

The find­ings come amid a spate of cases in­volv­ing of­fi­cers un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion or who have been found guilty of mis­con­duct, in­ci­dents that Coles said were erod­ing trust in the po­lice. “There’s never been a time that I can re­mem­ber where there’s been such a high num­ber of mis­con­duct cases or dis­ci­plinary hear­ings about po­lice of­fi­cers,” she said.

“There’s a lack of trust and con­fi­dence in the ac­count­abil­ity mech­a­nisms be­cause they prove them­selves time and again un­able or un­will­ing to deal with po­lice mis­con­duct and crim­i­nal­ity,” she added.

The Ob­server re­port on 3 Septem­ber into deaths of black men af­ter po­lice con­tact.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.