Officers involved in Sean Rigg arrest and detention cleared of gross misconduct

1 Mar 2019 02:47 PM

Police officers involved in the arrest and detention of Sean Rigg prior to his death did not commit gross misconduct, a panel has ruled.

Mr Rigg, aged 40, of Balham died following a period in police custody in Brixton, south London on 21 August 2008. He had been arrested after police were called by members of the public concerned about his behaviour.

Following two investigations by the Independent Office for Police Conduct, an inquest and court proceedings, a misconduct hearing has been held in public for five Metropolitan Police officers.

PS Paul White, and PCs Matthew Forward, Richard Glasson, Mark Harratt and Andrew Birks faced allegations relating to their actions on 21 August 2008.

PS White and PCs Harratt, Forward and Glasson also faced allegations they were dishonest when providing evidence about their actions on that day.

On 1 March, 2019, a Metropolitan Police panel ruled the officers had not committed grossmisconduct or misconduct and there were no performance issues.

IOPC regional director Sarah Green said: “It was important the actions of the officers involved in Sean’s detention and custody were independently investigated. Following the conclusion of our second investigation in February 2016 we have maintained the importance of the officers being held accountable for those actions.  Following our direction, a hearing has now taken place in public and the officers’ accounts have been tested before a panel. 

“This was a tragic case and my sympathies remain with Mr Rigg’s family, friends and all those affected by his death.

“We recognize it has taken far too long to reach this point, and regret the part we have played in delays.

“As a result of learning from Sean Rigg’s case, we undertook a critical review of the way in which we investigated deaths following police contact, which has transformed the way that we now approach these investigations.

“We are working closely with the Ministerial Board on Deaths in Custody looking across the entire system, including the misconduct, coronial and criminal justice systems, to identify and eliminate unnecessary delay for those bereaved families who are seeking answers for the death of a family member.

“We recognise that timeliness is a priority and we are working hard to conclude a very small number of long-running cases which predate the IOPC. We now complete nearly half of our investigations within six months and about 80% within a year.

“We work closely with police forces to help to improve their response to incidents involving a person with mental health concerns and continue to provide input nationally to shape police policy and procedure.”