Report published into Devon and Cornwall Police response to concerns for Christopher Rothwell

13 May 2016 02:38 PM

An Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) report has identified errors by Devon and Cornwall Police during their response to concerns about a man who later died.

The investigation looked at how police responded to concerns for Christopher Rothwell, 46, who was found collapsed near the Dennison Road and Chapel Lane junction in Bodmin on the morning of 9 August 2014. He was treated by paramedics and transferred to hospital, but died later that morning.

The IPCC investigated how Devon and Cornwall Police responded to three calls about Mr Rothwell in the hour before he was taken to hospital.

The actions of a Resource Deployment Officer (RDO) during one of the calls was determined by the IPCC to amount to a case to answer for gross misconduct. The staff member admitted failings related to the call during a gross misconduct hearing held by Devon and Cornwall Police, and received a written warning. Another RDO received management action for actions during a subsequent call.

The investigation also identified technical issues involving control room systems and has made two specific recommendations to help resolve these, which Devon and Cornwall Police have accepted.

Associate IPCC Commissioner Tom Milsom said:

“Our investigation found that the police response on the morning of Christopher’s death did not meet the standards that the public rightly expect.

“The most significant information about Christopher’s condition - that he was unresponsive – was not recorded during a call for assistance, meaning the people responsible for dispatching police officers did not have the facts they needed. Opportunities by call handlers and officers to link separate calls about Christopher were also missed.”

“While a quicker police response would not, ultimately, have saved Christopher’s life, it is important that people can be assured that their calls to police will be dealt with appropriately every time.”