Leon Briggs probe: IPCC cannot be pushed, says Home Office

Leon Briggs died on November 4 2013
Leon Briggs died on November 4 2013

The Home Office has said that it is unable to push the IPCC to speed up its investigation into the death of Leon Briggs.

Responding to a call for action from Luton South MP Gavin Shuker, Home Office under secretary Lord Ahmad said that the government has pledged extra resources to the IPCC but that it cannot intervene in probes.

In a letter to the MP he wrote: “I sympathise with the family of Mr Briggs for the loss they have suffered, and appreciate the frustrations of his family, friends and the wider community in Luton that the IPCC has yet to conclude its investigation.

“However, as you will be aware the IPCC is an organisation operationally independent of the Home Office and neither the Home Secretary nor her ministers are able to intervene in individual cases.”

November 4 will mark two years since the death of Mr Briggs, who died after he was detained by officers and taken to Luton Police Station under section 136 of the Mental Health Act.

The IPCC appears no closer to concluding its investigation into the incident, as in August commissioner Mary Cunneen admitted a final report is still in the works.

She said: “We have recently received a second draft and will now review this and begin draft conclusions...we are not in a position to say how long this will take.”

Speaking to the Luton News this afternoon, police and crime commissioner Olly Martins admitted he remains “very unhappy” with the police watchdog.

He said: “I think that the long delay in getting an answer is having a corrosive impact on the relationship between the public, the police and the IPCC.

“It periodically provides an unhelpful backdrop, added to which Mr Briggs’ family have got their lives on hold while they wait for closure.

“You’ve also got officers suspended on full pay and that has caused a £500,000 bill which should be spent on people policing the county.”