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Conclusion of misconduct hearing re: detention and death of Sean Rigg

News   •   Mar 01, 2019 11:54 GMT

A misconduct hearing has today, Friday 1 March, concluded that no Met officer breached standards of professional behaviour in relation to the detention and death of Sean Rigg in August 2008.

A panel, led by a senior officer, found none of the allegations proven against the officers involved, Sergeant Paul White and PCs Andrew Birks, Mark Harratt, Matthew Forward and Richard Glasson.

Sgt White and PC Harratt were also cleared of allegations in relation to alleged dishonesty at the inquest into Mr Rigg’s death and during the investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

The decision marks the conclusion of the six-week public hearing that had been directed for the majority of allegations by the IOPC.

Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball, head of Professionalism for the Met, said: "On behalf of the Met I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to Mr Rigg’s family. They have lost a much loved son and brother and we are truly sorry.

"On 21 August 2008, Mr Rigg was suffering a mental health crisis and police were called to assist. He was arrested and tragically he died in police custody.

"The officers were sent that day into the most challenging of situations. Their actions have now been subject to two IOPC investigations, an IOPC re-investigation, an inquest and a public misconduct hearing. They have been the subject of significant and protracted scrutiny and I would take this opportunity to thank them for their professionalism during this process.

"The panel has today found that they did not breach any of the standards of professional behaviour. I do hope Mr Rigg’s family can be reassured that all these processes have allowed for full and thorough scrutiny of all the facts.

"As the hearing was heard under 2004 and 2008 Police Regulations, the chair was required to be a police officer, of commander rank or above. The panel was led by Commander Julian Bennett, a senior MPS officer entirely independent from Mr Rigg’s case and the officers involved. I am grateful to the panel for their careful consideration of all the circumstances in this matter.

"As a direct result of Mr Rigg’s case, we have installed CCTV into all police vans used to transport prisoners to ensure there is a clear record of events that have occurred. Of course all frontline officers now also wear Body Worn Video which provides an irrefutable account of what has happened for the benefit of all parties involved.

"Mr Rigg’s death, and other very sad cases involving those suffering a mental health crisis, have changed the way we respond to these types of incidents. I would like to reassure Mr Rigg’s family that over the ten-and-a-half years since he died, the way in which the Met would respond to someone experiencing a mental health crisis has fundamentally changed. However, we are never complacent and continually review our policies and training."