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18 November 2014, 06:00
The "expensive, slow progress" of an Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation into the death of Leon Briggs in police custody has been questioned by Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Olly Martins.
Mr Martins says: "This investigation has been going on now for over 12 months, with the suspension of officers and staff during this time costing the county’s taxpayers £24,000 each month,” he said.
We are currently looking at around a quarter of a million pounds a year – and we still have no result. This is money that should be used for policing, whatever the findings of the investigation. Clearly, if there is culpability, there must be accountability, and we all need to know if this is the case or not. I feel that the community’s patience is running out while they wait for the outcome of this investigation."
The Commissioner said it was "a mystery" as to why the process was taking so long since all the evidence – including CCTV, witnesses and statements – was easily available. In contrast, he added, at least three highly complex cases in Bedfordshire in the last few years had each been resolved within 12 months.
He went on: "Of course, it’s very important to be fair to all concerned but I believe that a long drawn-out inquiry is not helping anyone. Mr Briggs’ family have waited a long time to have some closure, and the officers involved and their families will also be affected.
What I would like to see is some sense of urgency in relation to concluding this investigation, together with the application of the extra resources IPCC has received, for the benefit of all involved."
Mr Martins also spoke of his annoyance that the IPCC had this year received an extra £29M, much of which was top sliced from policing budgets - but with no discernible difference in performance. "If Bedfordshire Police had received £29m and I couldn’t see any improvement in performance I would be extremely disappointed" he said.
ense of urgency in relation to concluding this investigation, together with the application of the extra resources IPCC has received, for the benefit of all involved.”
Mr Martins also spoke of his annoyance that the IPCC had this year received an extra £29m, much of which was top sliced from policing budgets - but with no discernible difference in performance.
“If Bedfordshire Police had received £29M and I couldn’t see any improvement in performance I would be extremely disappointed,” he said.
In response, the IPCC stated: "We are expanding as an organisation, we have been promised more resources and we are changing the way we work, all of those factors should enable us to better resource the way we investigate and speed up the time it currently takes but we will never compromise thoroughness for speed – that would benefit no one.
Many of our investigations, especially those involving a death , are complex, involving many different lines of enquiry, and can take a long time to complete. We appreciate this is an added burden on all those directly affected."