One Of The Five Met Officers Subjected To 11-Year IPCC/IOPC Investigation Speaks Out

Father Andrew Birks is one of the five Metropolitan Police Officers who had to endure nearly 11 years’ worth of continued investigations following the tragic death of Sean Rigg, who died whilst in police custody back in 2008.

Last Friday, Father Birks (who during the investigation trained to become a Priest) along with the four other police officers involved in the case, was completely exonerated of any wrongdoing.

Andrew Birks is now an ordained Priest | Emergency Services News

Below is a statement that was prepared by Father Birks in relation to the investigation and it’s outcome:

“In light of the decision to exonerate me from all allegations on Friday 1st March, I wish to make this statement.

“I wish to thank all those who have contacted me over the last few days with words of support given the decision.  It has been a very humbling and emotional process of going through all those messages, Thank You.

“I, along with the other officers continue to be saddened by tragic death of Sean Rigg on the 21st August 2008 and have throughout investigations, and the now concluded hearing, expressed our continued empathy for his family and friends.

“There have been no winners in this case, only people who have been deeply affected by the actions of the Independent Office for Police Conduct, whose second ‘investigation’ took twice as long as the first and has demonstrated that the IOPC is absolutely broken beyond repair. 

“It stands today as a disgrace!

“The Misconduct Panel found that the public should be under no illusion about the failings of the IOPC in this case (and its predecessor). In the view of the Panel, the failure of the IOPC to carry out a proper first investigation and the way it carried out the re-investigation, should be regarded as highly incompetent and a long way short of what is expected of a statutory public body.

“The last ten years have been very difficult for me, and the last 5 especially have been a living nightmare. 

“There have been very dark periods in my life caused by the stress and anxiety of the investigation hanging over me for so long; an investigation which should have been concluded, for me, back in 2016 if not 2015. 

“The work which the IOPC conducted in the second investigation was minimal, and it was proven at the Misconduct Hearing that all the evidence gathered in the second investigation was available during the course of the first investigation.

“The delays caused in this investigation, I believe, lay firmly at the door of the IOPC. 

“Whilst the MPS are not blameless in causing delays, the IOPC have severely mismanaged this investigation.  

“As concerning is the honestly and integrity issues which have become apparent during both the High Court Hearing before Mr Justice Garnham in February of 2018, and this Misconduct Hearing.

“The senior investigating officer from the IOPC, Mr Steve Noonan, had his evidence in the High Court described as “disingenuous” by Mr Justice Garnham, and the panel considered parts of his evidence, during this hearing, to be worthy of the same description.

“It is important to remember that every police officer who goes out on duty, does so not knowing what that duty will bring them. 

“They do so without regard often for their own safety but more so for the public they serve. 

“I have always said that when the actions of police are questioned, it is absolutely right that they are investigated, but that investigation should be fair, independent and expeditious. 

“This case had demonstrated that the IOPC can achieve none of those. 

“The Police Complaints system needs a dramatic overhaul, to ensure the fair and independent treatment of those who complain, and the officers concerned.  Police Officers are not above the law, but the are not beneath the law either.

“I therefore will continue to fight for the fair treatment and rights of the police who are being investigated, to include how Police Forces manage those under investigation, and to ensure that confidence can be established in the IOPC.

“I also ask the IOPC to, with immediate effect, suspend Mr Steven Noonan and Ms Sarah Green at the IOPC and to seek an independent review of their handling of this case. 

“Their actions in this case cannot be simply swept under the carpet – it is important for the IOPC to learn how this investigation came to stand as one of the most shameful moments (of which there are many) in the IOPC’s history.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Colin Reynold’s of Reynolds Dawson’s Solicitors; Clair Dobbin, Alisdair Williamson and Hugo Keith at 3 Raymond Buildings for their support and hard work during this case.  I also would like to Thank the Police Federation both locally and nationally for their support in getting me through the last 10 years”.

CLICK HERE to read the story about the outcome of the investigation

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One comment

  • There has to be a Statute of Limitations associated with these Investigations (I use the word loosely in respect of the IOPC). 11 years to get exonerated is beyond belief. The stress for these officers must have been overwhelming. The people responsible should be held to account but I’m not holding my breath. Perhaps somebody in the Fed will consider a case of Abuse of Process so that these people in the IPOC can be held to account.

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