Police officer facing gross misconduct hearing following fatal shooting

By agency reporter
May 19, 2018

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has directed the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to hold gross misconduct proceedings for the officer who fatally shot Jermaine Baker in north London in December 2015.

This decision follows the IOPC investigation into the shooting which found that the officer, known as ‘W80’ for legal reasons, had a case to answer for gross misconduct for using excessive force when he shot Mr Baker.

The decision to direct proceedings was taken after the MPS disagreed with the IOPC findings and their subsequent recommendations that proceedings should take place.

IOPC Regional Director Sarah Green said, “I have directed that W80 should face gross misconduct proceedings having applied the relevant legal tests. The test I must apply, in deciding whether or not there is a case to answer for W80 is whether there is sufficient evidence, upon which a reasonable misconduct hearing, properly directed, could make a finding of gross misconduct.

“I have determined that in the specific circumstances of this case, a hearing could make a finding of gross misconduct. It is now for the police misconduct panel, led by an independent legally qualified chair, to test the evidence and to decide on the balance of probabilities whether W80 breached the police standards of professional behaviour by using excessive force.”

“The Crown Prosecution Service decided there was no realistic prospect of conviction with which to charge W80 with any criminal offence on 14 June 2017. Following a request from Mr Baker’s family for a review of their decision under the victim’s right to review, the CPS confirmed no charges would be brought on 19 March 2018.

“A police misconduct hearing applies a different standard of proof, to a court trying a criminal offence, when determining if there has been a breach of police standards of professional behaviour. The courts have recently reiterated that the primary purpose of police disciplinary proceedings is to uphold public confidence in the police.

“It is now a matter for the Metropolitan Police to arrange the misconduct hearing.”

Commenting on the announcement, Deborah Coles, Executive Director of INQUEST, said, “Once again we see a force refusing to accept the police watchdog’s misconduct recommendations. Any fatal use of force by police officers must be subjected to the highest level of scrutiny and accountability.  It is deeply concerning that the Metropolitan Police Service has had to be forced to take action in this case.  This follows a pattern of similar cases where forces are refusing to act until compelled to do so.

"Almost two and a half years since Jermaine’s death, his family are still waiting to see some semblance of justice and accountability.  Can the public really have confidence in a system that allows forces to manage their own misconduct processes in such serious cases as this?”

* Independent Office for Police Conduct https://www.policeconduct.gov.uk/

* INQUEST https://www.inquest.org.uk/

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