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Sean Rigg: Independent review into 'inadequate' IPCC report

TRAGIC: Sean Rigg, 40, died following contact with police

POLICE WATCHDOG – the IPCC – will commission an independent review into its own investigation looking at the death of Brixton musician Sean Rigg.

The organisation today (Aug 15) announced plans to draft in outside forces after admitting its handling was flawed.

Errors included a six-month delay in interviewing officers involved and delays in obtaining medical evidence.

It comes two weeks after an inquest into the 40-year-old’s death recorded a damning narrative verdict

Lessons

IPCC commissioner Amerdeep Somal said: “Mr Rigg’s family has demonstrated considerable determination and fortitude in seeking answers to the circumstances surrounding his death and I acknowledge their frustration with the IPCC’s investigation.”

He added: “As I have previously said, clearly there are lessons for the IPCC from the investigation into Mr Rigg’s death and I am pleased the IPCC chairwoman, Dame Anne Owers, will be commissioning an external review of our investigation to identify areas of improvement.”

The review will complement a national review into deaths following police contact due to begin in September.

Rigg, diagnosed with schizophrenia, died on August 21, 2008, following contact with police.

He slipped into a state of semi-consciousness after being unsuitably restrained and dumped into a police van.

Instead of being taken to hospital for medical treatment, the 40-year-old was taken to Brixton police station where he subsequently died of a heart attack.

Ineffective

In a statement, the Rigg family said: “There has never been any doubt in our minds that the IPCC’s inadequate report of February 2010 reflected an extremely poor and ineffective investigation into Sean’s death.

“For the IPCC to conclude in their findings that ‘the officers adhered to policy and good practice by monitoring Mr Rigg in the back of the van’ is absolutely absurd, flies in the face of the evidence and clearly contradicts the jury's narrative verdict.

“The family therefore welcome an external review of the IPCC’s original investigation by someone that is truly independent.”

Helen Shaw, co-director of campaign group INQUEST, said the IPCC’s initial report was indicative of a wider problem of “poor quality of too many” of their investigations.

“It is vitally important that both the external review of this investigation and the long awaited review of their whole approach to such investigations marks a sea of change,” she said.

“Families should not have to rely on their own efforts to make sure the full facts about such deaths are established and those responsible for deaths are held to account.”

A full report of the IPPC investigation, which concluded in 2010, has been published.

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