Police misconduct hearing: Panel retires to consider its judgement on 3 officers

A police misconduct panel is expected to deliver its decision tomorrow on the actions of three officers after a man died in police custody in Grimsby.

31 MARCH 2016 | BY GRIMSBY TELEGRAPH FOR GRIMSBY TELEGRAPH



The panel, chaired by Humberside Police Assistant Chief Constable, Lee Freeman, spent this morning listening to submissions from legal representatives of the three police officers who were alleged to have breached police regulations.

David Hill, 57, of Peaks Lane, who had been drinking, had been arrested on suspicion of affray by threatening a neighbour.

Police misconduct hearing decision

Hearing: David Hill, pictured inset, died in a custody suite at Grimsby Police Station.

But instead of taking him to hospital officers booked him into the custody suite at the Victoria Street station where he later died on May 21, 2013.

PC Turner and PC Mark Gowan are accused of a breach of standards of professional behaviour in respect of duties and responsibilities and, authority, respect and courtesy and challenging and reporting improper conduct, which is contrary to the Police (Conduct) Regulations of 2012.

All three deny the allegations.

Earlier, the panel of three heard submissions from the legal representatives for the three officers, and presenting counsel Ian Skelt – who said the custody suite that evening was “not a properly-governed environment” and was “disrespectful” towards Mr Hill.

He added: “That was a significant failure.”

He said there had been gross failures in the custody records kept by the custody sergeant.

He said: “It was specifically put to the sergeant that Mr Hill’s diabetes was poorly controlled, but nothing is done.”

He added: “This is a very poor set of policing activities from start to finish.”

For PCs Emily Turner and Mark Gowan, Adam Birkby said that if the panel found that there was a breach that it amounts to misconduct rather than gross misconduct.

He added that neither of his clients were medically trained and “individually and collectively they thought Mr Hill was asleep”.

Mr Birkby said: “These are two officers trying their best to discharge their duties.

“With hindsight, having been provided with the procedures (Association of Chief Police Officers) he should have gone to hospital.”

Jason Pitter QC, for custody Sergeant Nicholas Mortimer, said: “This is a case of a wrong decision, a wrong decision made for positive reasons.”

He said his client thought Mr Hill was asleep and that he would sleep it (the alcohol) off.

He said Sgt Mortimer had made “fulsome admissions” to what were “human failings”.

Mr Hill died in his police cell from acute alcohol intake and tests showed he had consumed five times the legal limit for drink driving.

Sergeant Mortimer said he had attempted to give cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

The officer said on Wednesday: “I was devastated. I genuinely offer my deepest sympathy to Mrs Hill and her family. In hindsight I wish I had sent him to hospital.”

The officer who arrested Mr Hill, PC Emily Turner also admitted that “on reflection” she would have taken Mr Hill to hospital rather than into custody.

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