A review has criticised the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) for its investigation into the death of Brixton man Sean Rigg who died in police custody in 2008.
The independent review was commissioned by the IPCC itself following last year’s inquest which found that police had used ‘unnecessary force’ in restraining him in the back of a police van upon his arrest.
The IPCC had previously made only two findings in investigating his death: that police ‘adhered to policy and good practice’ in the back of the van and that they should improve their internal CCTV, which was found to be faulty.
Unsatisfied with the IPCC’s findings, Mr Rigg’s family also pushed for the review.
Chair of the review Dr Silvia Casale said: “We found that the IPCC investigation and report concerning the tragic death 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.”
The IPCC has accepted the review’s recommendations, including one which says there should be a re-examination of whether or not the officers were guilty of misconduct. A statement says: ‘The IPCC is reviewing the evidence heard at inquest, in the light of the review’s findings, in order to determine whether further action can and should be taken.’
In particular the review questions the validity of some of the evidence given by police officers who were restraining him in the van and suggests the IPCC ’reconsider the issue of restraint’; as well as whether or not officers recognised Mr Rigg was suffering from mental health problems during his arrest.
Mr Rigg’s elder sister Marcia welcomed the review’s findings, and the ‘IPCC’s acceptance of the failings in its investigation. But she added: “It is the family’s strong opinion that possible criminal offences should also be considered afresh and we will be discussing that soon with the commissioner now overseeing the case, Mary Cuneen.”
Two serving police officers and one retired officer were arrested by the IPCC earlier this year on suspicion of perjury and perverting the course of justice, and their bail has been extended until early June while the investigation continues.
By Megan Welford