Final IOPC investigation following fatal police shooting of Anthony Grainger concludes
1 Dec 2021 02:35 PM
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has completed the last of three investigations started as a result of the public inquiry into the death of Anthony Grainger.
Mr Grainger was fatally shot in Culcheth, Cheshire, by a Greater Manchester Police (GMP) firearms officer during a police operation in March 2012.
Following the conclusion of the Anthony Grainger Public Inquiry in June 2019, GMP referred several matters that led to three independent investigations starting in March 2020.
As part of this we looked at the role of two former senior GMP officers in acquiring a CS canister used during the operation, which was not approved by the Home Office. The use of the device was not a factor in Mr Grainger’s death.
The Inquiry heard that GMP had used the unauthorised CS dispersal canisters since 2007.
Prior to their introduction, the force had used RIP rounds to deliver CS gas into vehicles, with the aim of temporarily incapacitating suspects. During our investigation we established the force had concerns this method was inefficient and so tasked one of the officers we investigated with finding an alternative.
The CS dispersal canisters were considered to be an improvement and the officer, via their line manager, who was also a subject of our investigation, submitted documents seeking approval for their use.
While national protocols for evaluating and acquiring the canisters were not followed, the evidence did not indicate that either officer acted dishonestly or in bad faith at any stage.
The Inquiry found the relevant code of practice did not expressly prohibit the use of weapons that had not received approval from the Home Secretary. As a result, it made a recommendation to improve the wording to provide greater clarity around the processes required to be followed.
IOPC Regional Director Amanda Rowe recently said:
“My thoughts remain with the family and loved ones of Anthony Grainger, and all those affected by his tragic death. His family has shown incredible bravery as we, and the Public Inquiry, sought to get answers to many of their questions surrounding what happened on that day.
“Both officers under investigation gave consistent and candid accounts of their actions, which were supported by other evidence. They took responsibility for their actions and decisions and we agree with the Inquiry’s finding that the guidance in place at the time was ambiguous.
“In the circumstances, we did not find the conduct of either officer to have been deliberate, reckless or so unreasonable as to amount to a breach of the police standards of professional behaviour.
“This marks the end of our investigations linked to Anthony’s death. This work has been thorough and covered many lines of inquiry, ultimately leading to criminal and disciplinary proceedings being started, as well as crucial learning for the police based on our findings.
“Our work is vital for public confidence in policing by ensuring cases such as this are thoroughly and independently investigated. We would like to thank those who assisted and once again extend our deepest condolences to Anthony’s loved ones.”
Our predecessor, the IPCC, carried out an independent investigation into the fatal shooting of Anthony Grainger on 3 March 2012.
On 14 January 2014, Sir Peter Fahy, who was at the time Chief Constable of GMP, was charged with a single offence of failing to discharge a duty under s3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
Following a ruling by the court in January 2015 regarding the disclosure of certain material to the defence, the prosecution offered no evidence against him and the judge was invited to direct a not guilty verdict.
The public inquiry began in January 2017 and the IPCC began two further investigations into the actions of two senior officers who gave evidence at the inquiry. One, former Assistant Chief Constable Steven Heywood, was found to have a case to answer for gross misconduct. The force arranged a misconduct hearing, which took place in June 2020, but offered no evidence, meaning there could be no ruling from the panel.
The other officer’s actions were not found to amount to misconduct and their performance was dealt with through management action.
Following the publication of the Anthony Grainger Inquiry report in July 2019, GMP made a series of further referrals, which led to three independent investigations based on live evidence from the inquiry.
The first of those looked at the conduct of one GMP officer and their management of two firearms officers’ training records. We did not find they had acted in way that would justify disciplinary proceedings.
The second investigation into the actions of three senior officers regarding their command and control of the policing operation was discontinued after it became apparent relevant material could not be disclosed.
The third was the investigation into the role of two senior former officers in acquiring the CS dispersal canister used during the operation and which found no case to answer for either officer.
We also considered further evidence arising from the inquiry relating to the officer, known as Q9, who fired the fatal shot. An addendum report to the original IPCC investigation, which had concluded in 2013, was produced in 2020 and found there was sufficient evidence to conclude Q9’s belief for using lethal force was honestly held.
Following our investigations we made a national recommendation to the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) this year, which was accepted, that if a tactical firearms commander or operational firearms commander becomes aware that an officer’s exposure to prior information or intelligence may adversely influence their assessment of threat and risk, they should take steps to address the issue including considering whether the officer should take any further part in the operation.