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Officers suspended in death probe

The police officers under investigation in connection with the death in custody of Leon Briggs have been suspended from duty.

Bedfordshire Police chief constable Colette Paul said the suspension "in no way jumps to any conclusion" about the investigation currently being carried out by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) police watchdog.

Mr Briggs, 39, described by his family as a ''kind, loyal, intelligent'' father, died after being detained at Luton police station under the Mental Health Act on Monday.

The suspension has been made after an initial assessment by the IPCC, Ms Paul said.

Mr Briggs was arrested by officers from Bedfordshire Police when members of the public reported concerns about his behaviour. Upon falling ill, he was taken from the station to Luton and Dunstable Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Ms Paul said: " Their suspension in no way jumps to any conclusion about the outcome of the investigation, but ensures absolute assurance of neutrality and transparency as the IPCC investigation progresses. The suspension of each member of staff will remain under constant review.

" We continue to co-operate with the investigation to help provide Mr Briggs' family, the Coroner and the IPCC with accurate information about how and why Mr Briggs died.

"I want to express my sympathy to the family of Leon Briggs at this difficult time. Mr Briggs' family are being supported by IPCC family liaison managers at this sad time."

Earlier this week, Mary Cunneen, the IPCC commissioner, said that while it was important not to prejudge the investigation's findings, ''at this stage we believe there is an indication that potential criminal offences may have been committed including g ross negligence and/or unlawful act manslaughter, misconduct in public office, and/or offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974".

''We will also be considering whether any potential disciplinary offences have been committed,'' she said.

She confirmed that IPCC investigators reviewed CCTV from the custody suite in Luton where Mr Briggs was held, and at the junction of Marsh Road and Willow Way where he was arrested.

House-to-house inquiries have also been made.


From Belfast Telegraph