Statement following conclusion of inquest into death of Lamont Roper
This was a tragic incident and our thoughts remain with Lamont Roper’s family and friends.
At the conclusion of the inquest, the Coroner made clear there was no causative link between police actions or inactions and Mr Roper’s death.
The jury delivered a narrative outcome which concluded that Mr Roper was non-compliant with the police officer’s stop and search request. They also found that there were inadequate resources for water rescue alongside the canal and at the specific location of the incident, that there was a lack of sufficient police resources – such as throw lines and torches – for officers on patrols, and that there was a lack of specialised on call rescue team divers.
The MPS will continue to assist the Coroner with the issues identified throughout the inquest.
The actions of the officers involved that night have also been scrutinised through an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) which concluded in May 2021. This investigation found no evidence that the actions or inactions of the officers that evening contributed to Mr Roper’s death. Every effort was made to find Mr Roper once he had entered the water, including one officer going into the lock unaided in an attempt to find him. Sadly, he was unable to be rescued in time.
One of the officers involved in the incident was served a notice of investigation by the IOPC at the level of misconduct. This was confined to the officer’s use of body worn video during the incident. The IOPC and Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards agreed that the officer should be subject to a misconduct meeting, which took place on 9 September 2021. The misconduct was not proven and no further action was taken against the officer.
The IOPC’s report did recommend broader organisational learning in three areas which have been introduced, or are in the process of being introduced. These focus on pursuit training for cycle patrols; equipping officers who patrol near water with throw lines; and refreshing officer training about entering water.
Detective Chief Superintendent Marcus Barnett, in charge of policing for Hackney and Tower Hamlets, said: “This tragic incident saw a young man lose his life and our sympathies remain with Mr Roper’s family and friends.
“We know that this incident has also been difficult for the local community and we have been reaching out to leaders and partners from the outset to keep them updated with developments and hear their views.
“We are a learning organisation and we will now take some time to carefully consider the observations made by the jury and the Coroner.