IOPC calls for better information sharing following investigation into North Wales Police contact with Jordan Davidson

28 Nov 2019 03:25 PM

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has called for North Wales Police, the National Probation Service (NPS) and the Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) to improve their information sharing as a matter of priority following the murder of Nicholas Churton.

Our investigation into contact between North Wales Police and Jordan Davidson found there were eight incidents in which he came to the attention of the force between his release from Parc Prison in December 2016 and Mr Churton’s murder in March 2017 in Wrexham. Davidson was convicted of murder in December 2017.

At the time of his release from prison, Davidson did not satisfy the criteria to be managed as a category one or two Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) offender as he had not been convicted of any violent or sexual offences. This meant he was not classified as ‘high risk’ and therefore, North Wales Police did not breach procedures as they were not required to highlight incidents to the CRC or NPS as a matter of protocol. The CRC had responsibility for lower risk offenders.

Neither the NPS or CRC were informed that Davidson was arrested for possession of a bladed article on 19 March 2017 until 24 March 2017, the day Mr Churton is understood to have been murdered.

Director for Wales Catrin Evans yesterday said:

“The ad hoc liaison arrangements between North Wales Police and the CRC have significantly contributed to the sequence of events. There was no documented process, clear audit or specific guidance for those dealing with incidents involving Jordan Davidson and the decision to engage with the CRC was left to the discretion and experience of individual officers, with varying results.

“Our role is to investigate serious allegations against the police and we have no direct remit over the Probation Service or CRC. We have shared and discussed the findings and learning from our investigations with these bodies, as well as Mr Churton’s family for whom I again express my sympathies.

“I am arranging a meeting with North Wales Police and the Probation Service to discuss systemic issues and reinforce the need for them to work together better. It is important that together they improve their processes and criteria for sharing information regarding medium and low risk individuals on licence.

“This could be through the use of automated processes for data sharing to allow for a timely decision to be made about whether to recall a person to prison.”

Officers responded to eight incidents involving Jordan Davidson after his release from prison and liaised with probation to varying degrees, with some officers taking proactive steps despite the lack of protocol.

The eight incidents are as follows:

  1. 14 December 2016 – The arrest of Mr Davidson for theft from Poundstretcher. Davidson later pleaded guilty.
  2. 31 January 2017 – Report of an assault on Mr Davidson.
  3. 14 February 2017 – Allegation of sexual assault for which he was not charged due to insufficient evidence.
  4. 1 March 2017 - Arrest for theft from Lidl. Davidson later pleaded guilty.
  5. 8 March 2017 – Report from a member of the public that there was an unknown male inside her vehicle. Davidson was identified as a suspect but was not charged.
  6. 8 March 2017 – Report by Mr Davidson’s landlord that he was bringing stolen property back to the address and that he wished him to leave. Incident closed by NWP as the owner of the property stated it had been returned to him and he did not wish to make a complaint.
  7. 13 March 2017 - Arrest for breach of the peace. Davidson was released from custody shortly afterwards. 
  8. 19 March 2017 – Arrest for possession of a bladed article in a public place. Davidson was released on bail.

Our investigation also found a case to answer for misconduct for one police sergeant in relation to not carrying out an adequate assessment of available information prior to Davidson’s release on bail after he had been arrested for possession of a bladed article.

The sergeant will face a misconduct meeting, to be arranged by North Wales Police, in due course.

We concluded our second investigation in September and have been in continued liaison with North Wales Police, the NPS and CRC over our concerns arising out of the two investigations.

As a result of our first investigation into prior North Wales Police contact with Nicholas Churton, two officers faced misconduct meetings. The IOPC and the force agreed that these officers had a case to answer. Misconduct was not found proven at the meetings held by the force and the officers’ conduct was deemed to amount to unsatisfactory performance.

We have also concluded an investigation into the conduct of former Chief Constable for North Wales Police Mark Polin. The investigation followed a complaint alleging that Mr Polin misled the complainant about the details of our investigation into NWP’s actions prior to the murder of Nicholas Churton. 

We carried out a thorough investigation into the allegations made within this complaint, but did not find any evidence to indicate that Mr Polin may have made a deliberate attempt to mislead the complainant.

Publication of our full reports will await the conclusion of the outstanding misconduct proceedings.