Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - formerly IPCC)
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Investigation update regarding inappropriate photographs taken at a murder scene in Wembley

A file of evidence relating to allegations that two police officers took inappropriate photographs at a crime scene and subsequently shared them has been referred to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), and fast time learning recommendations have been made to the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).

The IOPC has been conducting a criminal investigation into serious allegations of misconduct in a public office following a referral from the MPS on 19 June after the deaths of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry.

In addition, we launched a separate investigation to examine the conduct of a further six officers who allegedly were either aware of, received or viewed the inappropriate photographs and failed to challenge or report them.

The majority of lines of enquiry for this investigation are nearing completion. At its conclusion we will produce a final report detailing the evidence gathered and outlining our findings. This will be shared with the MPS in order to determine what further action will follow.

Other investigations which stem from, but are not connected to the original investigation, continue. These examine allegations officers shared or utilised answers prior to a police exam, the use of discriminatory language and an allegation one officer took an inappropriate photograph at the scene of a sudden death and subsequently shared it. These investigations are examining potential breaches of honesty and integrity, and equality and diversity. IOPC investigators continue to gather and analyse the evidence.

In total 13 officers have been informed their conduct is under investigation for potential breaches of standards of professional behaviour. 

We have identified areas for learning and have made two fast time learning recommendations to the MPS, which are:

  • the MPS should take steps to ensure all officers within a single police station in the north-east command conform to the expectations of their behaviour under the Code of Ethics, whilst on and off duty, and are aware that failure to do so could severely damage the public’s confidence in policing
  • the MPS should review whether supervisors and senior management at that police station are taking personal responsibility to identify and eliminate patterns of inappropriate behaviour, whilst simultaneously promoting a safe and open culture which makes clear to officers and staff that they are dutybound to challenge and report behaviour that does not align with the Code of Ethics. 

Our separate investigation into how the MPS handled a number of calls from the family and friends of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry who were concerned about their whereabouts between 6-7 June, remains ongoing. One officer has been informed that their conduct is under investigation following an indication they may not have progressed these reports appropriately.

IOPC Regional Director for London Sal Naseem yesterday said:

“As a result of our enquiries so far we have made two fast-time recommendations to the Metropolitan Police Service. These seek to ensure that police officers, their supervisors and senior management teams all take responsibility for a culture that is in line with the Police Code of Ethics and where inappropriate behaviour can be openly challenged.

“Last month we also referred one strand of our investigation to the Crown Prosecution Service as the evidence we have gathered indicates a criminal offence may have been committed. A report has also been sent to the Metropolitan Police Service to consider its next steps in terms of potential disciplinary proceedings for the two officers.

“Uppermost in our mind remain the family of Nicole and Bibaa, and we continue to provide them with regular updates. We also ensure the officers involved are aware of developments in our investigation.”

A referral to CPS does not mean that criminal charges will necessarily follow. The CPS will decide whether charges should be brought and if so what charges those should be, based on the test set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors.


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