The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has confirmed that five Thames Valley Police (TVP) officers have been advised that they are under criminal investigation following the death of a 24-year-old man in Milton Keynes on Tuesday, 2nd Feb.
Brian Ringrose died in hospital after Thames Valley Police officers arrested him at an address on Wednesday, 27 January.
Whilst dealing with Mr Ringrose, officers became concerned for his welfare and requested an ambulance which took him to Milton Keynes University Hospital.
A spokesperson for the IOPC said that evidence gathered so far indicates that after being medically discharged from the hospital, officers deemed it necessary to restrain Mr Ringrose in the hospital before taking him to a police van to transport him to police custody.
No details have been released regarding the circumstances that led to the officers having to restrain Mr Ringrose in the hospital.
And no details have been released by the IOPC regarding the circumstances that led up to officers having to respond to the address where police came into initial contact with Mr Ringrose.
While being taken to the police van, having been discharged from hospital, officers once again raised concerns regarding Mr Ringrose’ health.
As a result of these concerns, he was returned back to the hospital, where, following a medical assessment, he was placed in an induced coma.
Mr Ringrose sadly died in hospital on Tuesday, 2 February 2021.
A post-mortem has been conducted, but the cause of death was given as ‘inconclusive’ pending further investigation.
The IOPC has said that one of the areas which their investigation is looking at is the use of a Flexible Lift and Carry System (FLACS), which the officers used.
Thames Valley Police has suspended its use as a precautionary measure while the IOPC investigation progresses.
The IOPC confirmed that they are ‘exploring with the National Police Chiefs Council’ regarding its ‘use by other forces’.
The IOPC has advised the five officers that they are now under investigation for alleged ‘gross negligence manslaughter’ and ‘unlawful act manslaughter’.
One of the officers is also being investigated for an alleged common assault.
The officers have also been served with gross misconduct notices for potential breaches of professional behaviour related to the use of force and duties and responsibilities.
A spokesperson for the IOPC said:
‘The decision to inform officers they are under criminal investigation means evidence indicates a criminal offence may have been committed.
‘This does not necessarily mean criminal charges will follow.
‘Likewise, the serving of misconduct notices does not mean disciplinary proceedings will necessarily follow.
‘A decision on whether or not to refer the matter to the Crown Prosecution Service will only be made once our investigation is complete.
IOPC Regional Director for the South East Graham Beesley said:
“Our thoughts are with Mr Ringrose’s family and all of those affected by his tragic death.
“This is a significant development in our investigation and is based on [the] evidence we have gathered to date.
“We have updated Mr Ringrose’s family and will now seek to interview the officers under criminal caution.
“It is our role to independently investigate all of the circumstances when someone dies in police custody.”