Gross misconduct hearing begins following death in police custody

By agency reporter
January 21, 2019

Beginning on 21 January 2019, a police misconduct panel will consider allegations of gross misconduct against five police officers in relation to the death of Sean Rigg, including actions of officers during subsequent investigations. The hearing will be held in public and is scheduled for six weeks. 

Rigg was suffering mental ill health at the time of his arrest and was restrained by Metropolitan Police Officers. 

He died at Brixton police station on 21 August 2008. The officers are facing gross misconduct charges relating to the method of restraint, the accounts relating to restraint, as well as for the failure to identify and treat Rigg as a person with mental ill health, and for evidence given at the inquest.

The misconduct panel will consider whether the conduct of officers amounts to a Breach of Standards of Professional Behaviour, in respect of: Honesty and Integrity, Duties and Responsibilities, Use of Force, and Abuse of Authority. If proven, sanctions range from a formal written warning to dismissal from the police force.

Sean Rigg’s case has attracted significant public concern. Issues arising from his death have been pivotal in prompting and informing many national and international reviews of policing, mental health and race; including the first ever Independent review of deaths and serious incidents in police custody by Dame Elish Angiolini, published in October 2017.

Marcia Rigg, sister of Sean Rigg, said: "My family at this stage of the investigation deserve to witness a fair, transparent and truthful hearing into our beloved brother's death."

Deborah Coles, Director of INQUEST said: “Sean’s family and the public look to this panel to ensure robust scrutiny of the actions of these officers, against the mandatory standards of policing and care which should have kept Sean safe. This must also include concerns about the truth of the evidence given by those officers afterwards.”

On 21 August 2008, Sean Rigg died of a cardiac arrest following restraint in the prone position, which was deemed ‘unnecessary’ and ‘unsuitable’ by an inquest jury in in 2012. The Coroner issued a highly critical Prevention of Future Deaths report (known at the time as Rule 43) which identified ongoing concerns and critical learning for the Metropolitan Police Service and mental health services involved. In April 2018 the Independent Office for Police Conduct announced their decision to direct gross misconduct charges.

* INQUEST https://www.inquest.org.uk/

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