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Family of man who died after police restraint ‘outraged’ over collapse of misconduct hearing

THE mother of a man who died after being restrained under the Mental Health Act said that the family is “outraged” over the collapse of the misconduct hearing against six police officerstoday.

Leon Briggs died in hospital aged 39 in November 2013 after he was restrained by police. 

Six Bedfordshire officers — who were paid a total of £1 million in wages while suspended — were due to face a misconduct hearing.

Allegations against one were dismissed last week, and the case against five was discontinued on Friday.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had decided not to bring any criminal charges against the officers in 2018 after an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

Mr Briggs’ mother, Margaret Briggs, said: “As a family we are devastated and outraged at this decision.”

She added: “It is important not just for us as Leon’s family to have answers about what happened that day, but to make sure others don’t die in similar circumstances.

“We have lost all faith in the IOPC and systems that are meant to ensure officers’ wrongdoing will not go unchecked, especially when it results in the loss of life of a vulnerable man.”

Mr Briggs was restrained by officers before being taken to Luton police station, where he was held in a cell and again restrained.

He became unresponsive and was pronounced dead in hospital.

Bedfordshire Police offered no evidence at a disciplinary hearing after the IOPC removed its direction to the force to pursue the proceedings.

The force said that the case was halted after the disciplinary panel chairman requested a review of the “failed” IOPC investigation.

Assistant Chief Constable Jackie Sebire said: “The force has always wanted a fair and transparent hearing to provide answers to the family of Mr Briggs and provide confidence to the public.

“However, we became aware during the initial legal arguments of failings in the independent investigation which called into question the proportionality, fairness and the public interest in continuing with this hearing.

“Those concerns, coupled with the likelihood of yet further delay to proceedings, which have already gone on for an unacceptable length of time, meant we were left with little option but to ask the IOPC to review its decision over directing the hearing.”

But an IOPC spokesman blamed the force for scuppering the misconduct hearing by “offering no evidence to its panel.”

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