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Sussex Police Federation

Press Release

3 August 2018

Press statement given by Matt Webb Chair of Sussex Police Federation at the conclusion of the Gross Misconduct Hearing of officers involved in the incident with Mr Duncan Tomlin on 26th July 2014 after which he subsequently died

I am Inspector Matt Webb the Chairman of Sussex Police Federation and I am going to provide a statement on behalf of the officers who faced allegations following the death of Duncan Tomlin in July 2014.

Four officers faced thirteen allegations at a Misconduct Meeting last Friday, (27th July 2018), and the Gross Misconduct Hearing this week. All allegations were found to be not proven.

I am aware of the forthcoming Coronial process and will not be going into detail, but I am also aware of media coverage over the past seven days that has been sensational in nature and inaccurate in content. I wish to correct those issues.

There is no medical evidence that Mr Tomlin suffered from an epileptic seizure on the night in question.

There is no medical evidence that Mr Tomlin suffered from ‘excited delirium’ or an ‘Acute Behavioural Disturbance’.

There is evidence that Mr Tomlin had taken significant quantities of Cocaine, Cannabis, other illegal drugs and alcohol.

There is evidence that Mr Tomlin was extremely violent towards members of the public and Police both before and after arrest.

At last week’s Meeting and at this week’s Hearing the panels have considered the evidence provided by the IOPC and have decided that the officers did nothing wrong.

This investigation has taken four years to reach a conclusion, which has had a dramatic effect on the officers, my members both personally and professionally.

It is my opinion that the IOPC investigation was disproportionate and at times incompetent.

When considering the actions of officers under these circumstances, there is a quote from Theodore Roosevelt that is as relevant now as it was then.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst , if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Time and again officers are taken to Hearings by the IOPC without basis or evidence and I call upon them to offer my four members a full apology in relation to their treatment over the last four years.

Thank you.