Independent Police Complaints Commission
Misconduct found following a death in South Yorkshire Police custody
An Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation into the actions of a South Yorkshire Police custody detention officer, prior to the death of man while in custody, found a case to answer for misconduct.
Neil Budziszewski, 42, died in South Yorkshire Police custody on 3 May 2013. An IPCC investigation found cases to answer for misconduct for two sergeants who may have failed to complete risk assessments and custody records properly, and for possible failures in their actions concerning medical assessments and a shift change handover. Following a misconduct meeting held by South Yorkshire Police in 2014 one of the sergeants received a final written warning and the other a written warning.
However, following the inquest into Mr Budziszewski’s death concerns were raised about the actions of custody detention officer (CDO) Gary Houlton. The IPCC decided to reopen its investigation to focus on the CDO’s specific actions. This investigation concluded that there was evidence that he may have failed to carry out appropriate checks and not complete documentation accurately. A police staff disciplinary hearing, held by South Yorkshire Police in June 2016, found this amounted to misconduct and CDO Houlton received a written warning.
The final report and information regarding the previous investigation can be found here: https://www.ipcc.gov.uk/investigations/neil-budziszewski-south-yorkshire-police-death-custody
IPCC Commissioner Carl Gumsley said: “It became apparent during the inquest that there was evidence which had not been as thoroughly investigated by the IPCC as it should have been. Having not been involved with this investigation previously, I was able to look objectively at the evidence given at inquest and the original IPCC investigation.
“Whilst the original investigation had found evidence of failings by South Yorkshire Police and individual officers, it was apparent that the specific actions of CDO Houlton had not, in my view, been fully investigated.
“It was important for me to consider carefully what impact this information might have had on the original investigation. As a result I decided to re-open the investigation and look specifically at the actions of the custody detention officer; subsequently misconduct was proven and the investigation has now concluded.
“I have apologised to the family of Mr Budziszewski. I also requested an internal review to identify any organisational learning with the aim of avoiding such incidences in the future.”
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