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Officers to face fresh questions over Leon Briggs’ death

NEW CHARGES: Leon Briggs died after he was restrained and detained under mental health laws by Bedfordshire Police officers

OFFICERS AT the centre of the investigation into the death of Leon Briggs may face a fresh round of questioning by the police watchdog.

Briggs, 39, died on November 4 last year after he was restrained and detained under mental health laws by Bedfordshire Police officers at the junction of Marsh Road and Willow Way in Luton.

He became ill at Luton police station and was taken to Luton and Dunstable Hospital where he later died.

Five police officers and two detention officers are under investigation and have already been interviewed under criminal caution by Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

The investigation is considering potential offences of gross negligence, unlawful act manslaughter, misconduct in public office, and / or offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The IPCC has also revealed it is “likely” to question the officers again.

The watchdog said it has taken statements from more than 150 witnesses, including those who saw Briggs before he arrived at Marsh Road, those who witnessed his restraint on Willow Way and those who saw him at Luton police station.

In March, campaigners seeking justice for Briggs complained about the delay in getting answers.

Campaign spokesperson Liberty Louise told Luton Today: “We’ve wanted to know why Leon was not taken to hospital in an ambulance when there was one on site and why there has been no toxicology report yet.

“This is six months after his death, it took two weeks to produce one for [UK model and TV presenter] Peaches Geldof.

“We were told at the first public meeting with the police that everything would be out in the open but our questions have been blocked over and over again.”

IPCC Commissioner Mary Cunneen said: "Last week I met with representatives from the Luton Community Cohesion Contingency Planning Group and the Justice 4 Leon campaign to provide an update on our investigation into Leon’s death. This follows a meeting with Leon’s family last month.

"I was pleased to have the opportunity to go through our investigation and answer any questions that they had. Death in custody investigations are especially complex and do take time. I am grateful for the patience of both Leon’s family and the community as our investigation progresses.”

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