Police Federation

Case Study: City of London - investigated after a death

PC Brockwell endured two and a half years of "hell" after a routine incident led to an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation.

The officer and a colleague were flagged down by a bus driver and escorted a drunk and aggressive man from the bus, while recording the incident on his Body Worn Video. They assessed him as capable of looking after himself and left him propped against a bus shelter, in a suitable position, to sober up.

Later PC Brockwell was informed that the man was now on life support. He recalled: "I was taken to a private room and a Federation rep arrived. The post incident management process commenced but as I had no knowledge of it, it was very daunting. I was an emotional wreck, simply overwhelmed."

The man sadly died a week later and the IOPC launched an investigation into gross negligence, manslaughter and misconduct in public office. PC Brockwell was placed on restricted duties.

He added: "There was nothing to show how our actions on the night attributed to the man’s death, no CCTV, no body worn video, no statements – nothing. The case dragged on – all the while I still wasn’t clear what I was meant to have done wrong."

Finally, the Crown Prosecution Service decided there was no reasonable prospect of a successful prosecution. The IOPC pressed on with a misconduct hearing, which concluded that the allegations against the officers were not proven. They were even praised for their actions. Later, a pathologist gave evidence that the dead man had suffered a cardiac arrest and the officers would have had no way of predicting this.

PC Brockwell said: "During the process I wasn’t in a good place and I kept going over what I could have done differently. I was diagnosed with a brain tumour and had the additional stress of that, even postponing major surgery so I didn’t delay the misconduct hearing and drag things out. The situation was unbearable, two and a half years of hell."

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