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Police under investigation over Harold Shipman's victims

BY Jamie Grierson

An investigation has been launched into whether police officers misled families over the disposal of human remains from victims of serial killer Harold Shipman.

Human tissue from 12 of the GP's victims were kept for more than a decade by Greater Manchester Police before they were secretly destroyed without families' permission.

They were kept in storage for a number of years to ensure police had the appropriate evidence, should the murderer or his family appeal against his conviction. But in 2011 police decided to "respectfully dispose" of the tissue samples without telling the families.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has launched three investigations into the force's actions following allegations made by a serving whistleblower.

The police watchdog is also to look at the actions of a detective chief inspector, including the alleged unauthorised bugging of Greater Manchester Police, as well as an investigation into alleged sexual abuse as part of a wider inquiry into the whistleblower's claims.

A number of allegations were made by the whistleblower, including claims of "cronyism" among senior officers, failure to follow correct procedures, failure to investigate complaints properly and corruption, the IPCC said.

The inquiry has been broken down into three investigations – claims concerning Shipman's victims, allegations against the DCI and claims concerning the sexual abuse investigation. Officers whose actions will be investigated range from the rank of constable up to Greater Manchester Police (GMP) Assistant Chief Constable Terry Sweeney, the police watchdog added.

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