Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - formerly IPCC)
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Investigation concludes into use of force used on man in East London

Two Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) officers, who used force during the arrest of a man during an altercation in East London and later died in hospital, acted in accordance with the relevant policies and procedures, an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation concluded.

An inquest at Walthamstow Coroner’s Court, which ended on 16 November, determined Adam Fairbrass, 37, died as a result of multi-organ failure following cardiac arrest and restraint in presence of cocaine. The jury concluded unreasonable and disproportionate force was used by members of the public on Mr Fairbrass before police arrived at the scene.

We received a referral from the MPS following the incident on 7 December 2019 at a golf club in North Ockendon.

Our investigation, which concluded in March 2020, found the officers were responding to a report of a man attempting to attack others.

On arrival, officers handcuffed Mr Fairbrass, who had been restrained by members of the public for approximately 20 minutes.

Shortly after applying handcuffs, they realised he had become unresponsive, removed the handcuffs and began CPR.

They continued until the arrival of paramedics from the London Ambulance Service and continued to help under their direction.

Mr Fairbrass was taken to Queen’s Hospital, Romford where he sadly died two days later.

We concluded neither police officer committed a criminal offence or behaved in a manner justifying the bringing of disciplinary proceedings.

IOPC regional director Sal Naseem said: “Our thoughts are with Mr Fairbrass’s family, friends and all those affected by this tragic incident.

“Our evidence found both officers’ actions in initially applying handcuffs were in line with the information they were provided on arrival at the incident.

“As soon as they became aware they were now dealing with a medical emergency, they removed the handcuffs and provided emergency life support in accordance with their training. They also followed the instructions of the paramedics.

“We provided our evidence to HM Coroner to assist with the inquest proceedings, which we hope has helped answer some of Mr Fairbrass’s family’s questions about that tragic day.”

As part of our investigation, we attended the police post incident procedures and gathered more than 30 witness accounts, including from members of staff and members of the public.

CCTV footage and police officers’ body-worn camera footage was analysed and compared, along with a review of the police dispatch records and relevant policies regarding use of force and ELS.

We also investigated a decision to divert the officers, while heading to the golf club, to a nearby supermarket in Hornchurch where a personal attack alarm had been activated.

We concluded the officers had been given appropriate information, both incidents had been graded as a priority and the control room agreed they should attend. They reached the golf club within 15 minutes, therefore meeting the requirement for an immediate response.

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