Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - formerly IPCC)
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Thames Valley Police officers given management action following the death of Lucy Sessions

Two Thames Valley Police officers have been given management action by the force for breaches of professional standards when responding to a report of a woman who had threatened to take her own life and was subsequently found dead.

Lucy Sessions, 22, died on 18 August 2017 at her home in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.

Her local mental health team alerted police, following calls from friends, that she was threatening to kill herself and officers at the scene believed Ms Sessions was asleep as they heard snoring.

Unable to wake her they left, believing there was no risk to her life. They returned four hours later and noted the snoring had stopped. At this point they believed there was a risk to her life and needed to force entry to her property. As they did not have the appropriate equipment with them, they had to travel to Aylesbury Police station to collect an ‘enforcer’ (a forcible entry tool) but struggled to find one promptly.

They eventually gained entry, attempted CPR and called for an ambulance. Ms Sessions was pronounced dead by medics.

After a referral from Thames Valley Police, we began our independent investigation, interviewed the officers and assessed their actions and decisions regarding Ms Sessions. Investigators also interviewed witnesses to the incident as well as analysed radio communication between force control room staff and officers involved in the incident.

We completed our investigations by August 2018 and found both officers had a case to answer for misconduct and Thames Valley Police agreed with our recommendations that the officers should face misconduct meetings.

The first officer was found to have committed misconduct for failing to ensure they had the correct equipment ready to gain entry when they re-attended Ms Session’s home. The second was found to have committed misconduct for failing to prompt the other officer to ensure they had the correct equipment to gain entry to Ms Session’s home. They both received management action from the force.

IOPC Regional Director Sarah Green, said:

“Our thoughts remain with Lucy Sessions’ family and those who knew her.

“Our investigation, the subsequent independent misconduct meetings and the inquest proceedings gave a clear insight as to what happened that day. The actions of some of the officers and staff involved fell below the standard expected.

“Thames Valley Police now makes enforcers readily available at Aylesbury police station.”

An inquest into Ms Sessions’ death was held at Aylesbury on 29 January 2020 and delivered a narrative conclusion. The cause of her death could not be conclusively explained.

* We have published a summary of our investigation here

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