IPCC reveals details of investigation into man’s death in custody

L13-1334 Leon Briggs memorial flowers outside Luton Police station, Buxton road.

L13-1334 Leon Briggs memorial flowers outside Luton Police station, Buxton road.


One month since Leon Briggs died in the custody of Beds Police, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has outlined its investigation into his death.

Mr Briggs, 39, a father of two, died on November 4 after being restrained and detained by Beds Police at the junction of Marsh Road and Willow Way.

Two armed response officers, one police constable, two custody sergeants and two detention officers were interviewed under criminal caution by IPCC investigators on suspicion of offences including gross negligence and/or unlawful act manslaughter, misconduct in public office, and/or offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

IPCC Commissioner Mary Cunneen said: “Today marks one month since Leon’s death and I know that both his family and the wider community are still struggling to come to terms with their loss.

“I hope that by outlining the parameters of our investigation, those affected by Leon’s death can understand the scale of our investigation, the progress we have made so far and the considerable amount of work we still have to do in order to find out exactly what happened to Leon and why.”

Mr Briggs was taken to Luton police station in a police van rather than an ambulance and detained under section 136 of the Mental Health Act.

The IPCC is examining all police contact with Mr Briggs and the decisions made, such as whether requirements under the Act to take him to a ‘place of safety’ were considered and followed and why he was transported in a police van.

The IPCC is investigating the treatment of Mr Briggs throughout his detention including the use of force or restraint, the assessment of physical and mental well-being, the ongoing risk assessment by officers and staff, and whether they complied with their duty of care.

The post incident procedure which followed Mr Briggs’ death is being examined to establish whether it was conduct in accordance with the relevant guidance.

The IPCC is also examining the involvement of paramedics at the scene of the initial restraint and detention and will consider the relevant joint working protocols, policies and procedures between Bedfordshire Police and East England Ambulance Service (EEAS) in relation to section 136 of the Mental Health Act.

This includes the response by both police and the ambulance service to the initial 999 call.

Over 60 witnesses have been identified either by IPCC investigators or who have come forward, and saw Mr Briggs either at Marsh Road and Willow Way, at Luton Police Station, or earlier in the day.

Investigators are continuing to take statements.

Statements have also been taken from two paramedics from the EEAS who attended at Marsh Road and Willow Way while Mr Briggs was being restrained.

CCTV has been seized from a number of shops and premises on Marsh Road and Willow Way as well as from local authority cameras.

IPCC investigators have also seized CCTV from the custody suite and the yard at Luton police station.

The police van which attended Marsh Road and Willow Way and the cell at Luton police station have been forensically examined.

IPCC Commissioner Mary Cunneen said: “We have also had a very positive response to our witness appeal and have identified over 60 witnesses who may have information which could assist us.

“I would ask people to be patient while we carry out our investigation. This is a complex inquiry but our focus remains on establishing what happened to Leon and to providing answers to his family, friends and the wider community.

“We are in regular contact with Leon’s family via their solicitors keeping them updated with the progress of our investigation.

“I have also committed to providing regular updates through Luton Council’s Community Cohesion Contingency Planning Group and I am grateful to them for inviting me to their meetings.”

The IPCC is continuing to appeal for witnesses with information to contact the investigation team on freephone 0800 096 9072 or marshroad@ipcc.gsi.gov.uk.




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