Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - formerly IPCC)
Kingsley Burrell misconduct hearing concludes with one West Midlands Police officer dismissed and two cleared
A West Midlands Police officer has been dismissed following a misconduct hearing for providing dishonest accounts after the death of Kingsley Burrell. Breaches of honesty and integrity, and duties and responsibilities, were found proven at gross misconduct level against PC Paul Adey.
The misconduct panel cleared the same officer and two other police constables of using excessive force prior to the death of Mr Burrell. The two other constables were also cleared of honesty and integrity allegations.
Police officers had a number of interactions with Mr Burrell, 29, in the days prior to his death from cardiac arrest in hospital in March 2011.
The panel returned the ruling yesterday (Tuesday) after a four-week long disciplinary hearing at Sutton Coldfield police station arranged by West Midlands Police.
An IOPC investigation, which concluded in September 2014, looked into the interaction police officers had with Mr Burrell between his detention on 27 March 2011 and his death at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham four days later. A second IOPC investigation, which ended in October 2015, examined allegations that officers had committed perjury in evidence given under oath at the inquest into Mr Burrell’s death in June that year.
IOPC regional director Derrick Campbell yesterday said:
“We have undertaken two complex investigations surrounding the sad death of Mr Burrell which have led to the gross misconduct proceedings that ended today, as well as the earlier criminal trial at which the officers were acquitted. The evidence we gathered also helped to inform the inquest held in 2015. The actions of the officers involved, their use of force and the accounts they since gave have been thoroughly and independently scrutinised, and the disciplinary panel has now made its decisions and findings.
“The overall length of time taken since Mr Burrell’s death to reach today’s conclusion is regrettable, and I have no doubt of the profound effect this has had on all concerned. Our first investigation took longer than it should have but it involved criminal interviews with the primary officers, witness interviews with ten other police officers and over a dozen medical staff, and the analysis of a large range of expert opinion. I again send my condolences to the family and friends of Kingsley Burrell at this difficult time.”
The investigations have involved:
- Analysis of police airwave transmissions and CCTV;
- Conducting criminal interviews with four police officers on two occasions;
- Dozens of witness statements taken from police, medical/ambulance staff and members of the public;
- Expert opinion gathered and analysed from over 10 pathologists, forensic scientists and psychiatrists, and a police use of force expert;
- Consideration of relevant national and force policies on use of force and the handling of people detained under the Mental Health Act;
- Two separate referrals to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), one over use of force and one for allegedly dishonest accounts.
We are today publishing our two investigation reports available here.
In June 2014 the CPS decided there was insufficient evidence to bring any charges against police officers over use of force.
After the conclusion of the first IOPC (then IPCC) investigation, West Midlands Police agreed to hold a gross misconduct hearing in 2015 – the proceedings were stayed following representations on behalf of the officers.
Complaints were raised over accounts given by police officers to the five-week long inquest that ended in May 2015. The inquest jury had returned a narrative verdict and detailed restraint and neglect as contributory factors. In June 2015, the IOPC began a second investigation and referred a file to the CPS five months later.
In October 2016, the CPS determined there was sufficient evidence to charge three officers with perjury and perverting the course of justice.
In October 2017 the officers were acquitted at a trial at Birmingham Crown Court.
West Midlands Police later agreed with the IOPC view that four officers should face grossmisconduct proceedings over use of force, and three over allegations of dishonest accounts.
At a pre-hearing in October 2018 the disciplinary panel decided the use of force allegationsagainst the fourth officer should be dismissed.
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