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IPCC investigation made ‘fundamental errors’

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has been criticised for making “fundamental errors” and for clearing police officers of any blame for the death of a man in custody.

A review by criminologist Dr Sylvia Casale, commissioned by IPCC chair Anne Owers, highlighted 17 recommendations for the organisation.

The case of Sean Rigg, who died in custody at Brixton police station in August 2008, included basic mistakes by the IPCC, who failed to investigate CCTV footage, secure the crime scene, or interview officers for six months.

Dr Casale said: “We found that the IPCC investigation and report concerning the tragic death in custody of Sean Rigg in 2008 should have been more robust, in particular as regards its pursuit of lines of inquiry and critical analysis of the evidence. Our recommendations focus on what can be learnt from that case for future investigations into deaths in custody.

“We welcome in particular the significant changes underway and the developments in the pipeline, in terms of the IPCC’s management of cases and methods of investigating and reporting. These improvements will help the IPCC to fulfil its important and complex mandate: to ensure that the UK meets its obligations to protect the right to life and to prevent deaths in custody.”

Owers said: “I am conscious that the shortcomings identified in this review, and the length of time it has taken to get to this stage, have added to the distress and grief of the Rigg family and I have apologised to them for this.”

(Image shows the brother and sisters of Sean Rigg – Sam Rigg, Wayne Rigg and Marcia Rigg-Samuel – outside Southwark Coroner's Court, during his inquest in June 2012. Image: Alex Diaz/PA Wire)

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