Independent Police Complaints Commission
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Findings issued from investigation into police response to man falling in river at Leamington Spa

An Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation has concluded that police officers responding to emergency calls that a man had fallen into the River Leam at Leamington Spa have no case to answer in relation to the allegation that they failed to take meaningful action to assist when he was in the water.

Warwickshire Police officers arrived at the Pump Room Gardens in Leamington Spa at around 9.25 pm on 15 November 2014, following emergency calls from members of the public, and could see a man in the water. They urged the man to swim to the bank and the fire and rescue service were called to assist. However the man disappeared from view and the body of Pawel Przydalski, 26, was found several days later by a police dive unit in an area close to where he was last seen in the water.

The investigation also found that the role Warwickshire Police officers’ carried out in taking part in the search for Mr Przydalski that evening was appropriate.  Officers remained at the scene to liaise with other emergency services and to assist. 

The IPCC investigator considered that officers were left with very few options as to how they could assist Mr Przydalski when he was in the water and had no access to water rescue equipment.

The officers’ brief withdrawal from the scene as ordered after a false suggestion was made by a witness that a firearm may be involved was reasonable, in the IPCC investigator’s opinion.

In light of the circumstances surrounding Mr Przydalski’s death, the IPCC suggested that Warwickshire Police consider making such equipment standard in patrol vehicles used within areas identified as having water related risk. Warwickshire Police has since increased the availability of water safety equipment to attending officers and delivered water safety awareness training to those personnel who may be expected to use the equipment.

At an inquest into Mr Przydalski’s death which concluded at Warwick Justice Centre, Leamington Spa yesterday (Wednesday) a jury returned a finding of misadventure.

IPCC Commissioner Derrick Campbell said: “I would again send my condolences to the friends and family of Mr Przydalski at this time. We carried out an independent investigation into the police response that evening, and found that officers took all reasonable steps in the difficult circumstances they faced.”

The IPCC investigation ended in November 2015 and issuing the findings has awaited the conclusion of the inquest.

 

Channel website: https://policeconduct.gov.uk/

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