IPCC concludes investigation into Northumbria Police following the death of David Stubbs

13 Sep 2016 11:13 AM

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) found no indication Northumbria Police officers who had contact with a man in Houghton-le-Spring prior to his death acted improperly in any way. 

Officers attended the home of David Stubbs on 12 October 2015 to execute a drugs search warrant. The 43-year-old became ill during the search and died a short time later.

An inquest into Mr Stubbs’ death, held on 5 September 2016, recorded a verdict of death by misadventure.

The IPCC has awaited the conclusion of the inquest before publishing the outcome of its independent investigation, which looked at the contact between officers and Mr Stubbs and the actions of officers following his death.

The evidence obtained in the investigation provided no indication that the officers who had entered Mr Stubbs’ home to execute the drugs warrant had acted improperly in any way.  It also showed that immediate medical assistance was sought after Mr Stubbs had been witnessed swallowing what appeared to be a quantity of drugs at the scene.

The investigation also considered other circumstances relating to the way that Mr Stubbs death had been initially investigated.  In the investigator’s opinion there was evidence to suggest that a police constable had failed to preserve the integrity of the scene, following Mr Stubbs’ death, by allowing a member of the public to enter the property. Though not amounting to misconduct, in the investigator’s opinion this did fall below the standard expected – the officer has since received management action in relation to this matter.

In addition, during the investigation, the IPCC was made aware that incorrect information had been provided by Northumbria Police to Mr Stubbs’ family, in the immediate aftermath of his death. In the investigator’s opinion there is was no evidence to suggest there had been was any intention to mislead family members and information was communicated as it was understood at the time.

IPCC Commissioner Carl Gumsley said: “The IPCC conducted a thorough investigation looking at all aspects of the police actions leading up to, and following, Mr Stubbs’ death.  My sympathies go to Mr Stubbs’ family and I’d like to thank them for their assistance with thisinvestigation.”