Sean Rigg custody death officer quits Metropolitan Police

PC Andrew Birks PC Andrew Birks is set to step down on 1 June

Related Stories

The police watchdog has urged the Metropolitan Police to stop an officer quitting so he can face misconduct proceedings after a death in custody.

Senior arresting officer PC Andrew Birks is set to step down on Sunday.

The family of Sean Rigg, who died at Brixton police station in 2008 after being restrained, said they were "livid" about his resignation.

The Metropolitan Police said it was considering the Independent Police Complaints Commission's (IPCC) request.

The force added that until a decision was made it would be inappropriate to comment.

'Refuse' resignation

Mr Rigg, 40, who had schizophrenia, was arrested in Balham and taken to Brixton police station in August 2008 after attacking a man. He died at the station after a suffering a cardiac arrest.

The police watchdog's demand that Scotland Yard halts the resignation is highly unusual.

Sometimes police inform the IPCC if they think an officer who has faced investigation is considering departing - but in the case of PC Birks, neither the watchdog nor Sean Rigg's family saw this coming.

If the commissioner doesn't agree to stop the officer leaving, the only realistic option open to the family or IPCC would be to seek an emergency court order on Friday to allow a judge time to review whether the Met has acted lawfully.

Meanwhile, Home Secretary Theresa May has separately pledged to stop officers who are facing scrutiny from resigning because she thinks that it damages public trust in the police.

Campaigners supporting that move say this is precisely the kind of departure that the home secretary must end.

An inquest into his death in 2012 heard the arresting officers restrained him for several minutes on the ground before taking him to the police station. It concluded that the officers had used "unsuitable force".

In April, the IPCC investigated evidence from the inquest and gave its findings to the CPS. The inquiry relates to two officers.

On 13 May, the High Court gave the watchdog permission to begin new disciplinary investigations.

But on 19 May, before the IPCC was able to serve formal notices of investigation, the Met told the watchdog that PC Birks would be leaving the force, which was accepted by the Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe.

In a statement, the IPCC said it had asked the Met to suspend the officer before his employment ends.

IPCC Commissioner Mary Cunneen said: "I am extremely disappointed that the Metropolitan Police Service did not notify the IPCC at the earliest opportunity that this officer was intending to leave the force with its approval.

"I have today written to the MPS to invite them, given the clear public interest in this case, to consider suspending the officer ahead of his departure taking effect and to then go on to refuse to allow him to leave.

"While the IPCC cannot prevent an officer leaving a force, we believe that it is unacceptable that officers can be allowed to do so and avoid the possibility of facing disciplinary proceedings."

'Extremely alarmed'

Sean Rigg's sister, Marcia Rigg, demanded Sir Bernard withdraw his acceptance.

Sean Rigg Sean Rigg died from cardiac arrest

She said: "The family of Sean Rigg is livid to say the least to learn that PC Andrew Birks, one of the arresting officers who was involved in the death of our beloved brother, Sean, has recently had his resignation accepted by the Police Commissioner, Bernard Hogan-Howe, to take effect on 1 June 2014 unless reversed.

"There is no doubt in our minds that this decision by PC Birks was taken to avoid the risk of him being held accountable for his conduct towards Sean on 21 August 2008 and acquiring a disciplinary record, possibly for gross misconduct.

She said if the resignation was allowed it would "destroy public confidence in the police complaints system".

Deborah Coles, from the charity Inquest, said: "This is not an isolated case but part of a systemic problem that allows the police to remain above the law."

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC London

Weather

London

21 °C 10 °C

BBC Local Live

  1.  
    Londoners wanted over killing 14:19:

    The Telegraph reports there are three Londoners who may know what happened to the US journalist James Foley who was brutally killed in Syria.

     
  2.  
    Carnival tips 14:09:

    Here are BBC London 94.9's Mark Machado's top three tips for enjoying Notting Hill Carnival:

    1. Never try to meet someone at carnival, meet them before, no chance you'll ever find someone.

    Notting Hill Carnival

    2. Don't wonder round trying to look for something amazing, find a sound system you like and stick to it.

    3. Carnival is safe so don't worry about it, enjoy it and have a good time.

     
  3.  
    News on the hour 13:57: BBC London 94.9 Radio

    In the 1400 bulletin:

    • EDF is pay out £3m to help vulnerable customers, after the watchdog, Ofgem, found it had breached complaint handling rules
    • Mental health inpatient centres in Camden and Islington have been told they need to improve by the chief inspector of hospitals
    • A former Met officer could be jailed after admitting selling a story about a supermodel
     
  4.  
    In the papers 13:51:

    Developers behind a new housing block in Kentish Town have been accused of turning some of its residents into second-class citizens after forcing its poorer families to use a more unsightly entrance at the back of the building, reports the Ham & High.

     
  5.  
    Luton airport rated poor 13:41:

    London Luton airport has come bottom of an airport customer satisfaction survey for the second year running.

    The poll by consumer group Which? asked customers to rate queues at security, seating provision and pick-up and drop-off facilities. London City came joint third in the poll.

     
  6.  
    Doctor takes over Parliament Sq 13:27:

    Parliament Square was taken over by Doctor Who stars this morning.

    Doctor Who stars Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman

    The photocall was ahead of the new series, which starts this weekend on BBC One.

     
  7.  
    Lunchtime news 13:18: Alex Bushill BBC London News

    This lunchtime we have the latest reaction after a 24-hour strike by Tube drivers brought two of the busiest lines to a standstill in central London.

    The union, Aslef, accuses Transport for London of a "failure to treat drivers with the respect and dignity they deserve".

    TfL says the 24 hour strike is unnecessary. Join me at 1330.

     
  8.  
    Weather 13:10:

    There will be plenty of dry weather around this afternoon with some pleasant sunny spells, but a few showers will develop and one or two of these could be on the heavy side, especially north of London.

    Feeling cool for the time of year, especially in the north-westerly breeze. Highs of 21C (70F)

     
  9.  
    News on the hour 13:00: BBC London 94.9 Radio

    In the 1300 bulletin, the Hackney Heroine, Pauline Pearce, says a report on the impact of living in deprived council estates came as no surprise to her.

     
  10.  
    WWI heroes remembered 12:46:

    The first of 150 paving stones to be laid across the country to remember recipients of the Victoria Cross in World War One is being laid in Willesden Green.

    WWI Victoria Cross stone

    On the 23 August 1914, Charles Ernest Garforth - who was born in Brent - volunteered to cut wire under heavy fire allowing his squadron to escape.

    Tomorrow, 100 years to the day, he will be remembered with a paving stone created by London designer Charlie MacKeith.

     
  11.  
    Spurs fight back 12:34:

    Tottenham came back from a goal down to claim the advantage in their Europa League play-off tie against Limassol.

    Roberto Soldado and Harry Kane scored in the second half to give the north London club the lead.

     
  12.  
    Officer facing jail 12:25:

    A former Met Police community support officer could face a prison sentence after he admitted selling a story to the Sun newspaper.

    Paul Randall, 49, pleaded guilty to misconduct in a public office in regards to the story about a supermodel facing an assault allegation.

    He is due to be sentenced on 18 September and has been granted bail.

     
  13.  
    On air 12:15: Robert Elms Presenter, BBC London 94.9

    Fifty years after the death of the author of James Bond, Ian Fleming, I'll be speaking to author Matthew Parker who'll talk about his life in Jamaica - where he wrote the famous spy novel.

    Ian Fleming

    Also on the show, the founding director of Open House London will tell you what you can expect at this year's event.

     
  14.  
    Culture debate 12:06: via Facebook

    If you want to debate whether London really is the most expensive city in Europe for cultural activities, then BBC London's Facebook page is the place to go.

    Royal Albert Hall

    Geoff Power writes it's the "opera, ballet and classical concerts that push the price up, otherwise you can spend very little, especially considering most museums and galleries are free, unlike in much of Europe".

    While Win Nguyen writes that it's worth the price.

     
  15.  
    News on the hour 11:57: BBC London 94.9 Radio

    Listen to Amy Winehouse's father Mitch talk about her legacy in Camden in the 1200 bulletin.

    And the Hackney Heroine, Pauline Pearce, talks about how inner city estates have many issues following a report which heavily criticised them.

     
  16.  
    QPR signing 11:47:

    Queen Park Rangers have confirmed the signing of Chile forward Eduardo Vargas on a season-long loan from Napoli.

    Manager Harry Redknapp said: "Eduardo is a quality player. He's sharp, he's bright, and he's very lively on and off the ball."

     
  17.  
    House fire 11:41:

    London Fire Brigade tweets: 20 firefighters are attending the fire at a semi detached house on Warwick Ave, Edgware. Part of the first floor is alight. More soon.

     
  18.  
    Tube strike 11:31:

    Aslef union members have taken strike action today, with the Central and Waterloo & City lines affected.

    The union's district organiser Finn Brennan said: "We had massive support from our members this morning - not a single ASLEF driver went to work on the Central line today."

    LU operations director Nigel Holness said: "Our staff and volunteers are working hard to keep London moving."

     
  19.  
    Winehouse statue 11:22: Vanessa Feltz Presenter, BBC London 94.9

    Next on air, I'll be talking to Mitch Winehouse about the statue of his daughter Amy which is to be unveiled in Camden next month.

    Amy Winehouse
     
  20.  
    Lewisham jihadist 11:14:

    A woman from Lewisham, who travelled to Syria to marry an Islamist militant, says she wants to be the first female jihadist to kill a British or American captive. Full story in the Independent.

     
  21.  
    News on the hour 10:58: BBC London 94.9 Radio

    The Liberal Democrats say they will make safe standing in football grounds a commitment in their 2015 election manifesto.

    Listen to what Fulham fans think of the proposal in the 1100 bulletin.

     
  22.  
    Murder accused 10:43:

    Two teenagers have been charged with the murder of 19-year-old Charlie Burns in Hackney.

    Charlie Burns

    Ashan Crosdale, 19, and a 16-year-old, both from Hackney, have been charged after the fatal stabbing on Monday afternoon.

     
  23.  
    US Open one step closer 10:33:

    James Ward is one match away from reaching the US Open main draw for the first time after winning in the second qualifying round.

    The 27-year-old Londoner claimed a hard-fought 6-4 6-4 victory over France's Vincent Millot.

     
  24.  
    Your views 10:22:

    What do you think of BBC Local Live? We'd like your feedback about this service.

     
  25.  
    Gruelling walk 10:13:

    The Agricultural Hall in Islington was apparently the scene of one of the most gruelling events in sporting history.

    Walking competition

    This is where a group of men aimed to walk around the track as many times as possible in six days - and the idea for the competition was dreamt up by David Cameron's wife Samantha's great-great-grandfather.

     
  26.  
    Travel 10:03:

    Queues of about two hours remain on the M25 despite it fully reopening following an incident overnight.

    The road had been closed anti-clockwise between J27 (for the M11) and J26 (at Waltham Abbey) while repair work from an overnight lorry fire was carried out. BBC Travel has the latest.

     
  27.  
    News on the hour 09:54: BBC London 94.9 Radio

    In the 1000 bulletin: A husband and wife from north-west London have been charged with human trafficking.

    Marius and Andreea Chibotaru from Harrow will appear at Hendon Magistrates' Court later charged with offences including trafficking into the UK for sexual exploitation, controlling prostitution and rape.

     
  28.  
    London Bridge 09:42:

    From tomorrow for the next nine days, there will be no First Capital Connect or Southern Rail services stopping at London Bridge.

    Southeastern services will continue to call at the station however.

     
  29.  
    Tube strike 09:29:

    BBC London's Charlotte Franks tweets: Still people queuing for the bus at Leytonstone. No trains to Stratford due to strike.

    People queuing for a bus
     
  30.  
    Tube strike 09:18:

    There's no service on the Waterloo & City line while on the Central Line, there are severe delays between White City to Ealing Broadway and Leytonstone to Epping.

    There is no service on the rest of the line. Keep up-to-date with BBC London Travel.

     
  31.  
    Tube strike 09:09:

    Commuters and visitors to London have been hit by disruption as some Tube drivers strike.

    London Underground train

    Members of Aslef who work on the Central Line walked out at 00:01 BSTfor 24 hours. The Waterloo and City Line is also affected.

     
  32.  
    News on the hour 08:58: BBC London 94.9 Radio

    Some of London's housing estates are now suffering from 80 years of neglect and are becoming a national embarrassment.

    Hear what Brandon Lewis, the housing minister, thinks in the 0900 bulletin.

     
  33.  
    Tube strike 08:48:

    BBC London reporter Tarah Welsh tweets: Biggest issue people seem to have about @centralline #tubestrike is that they didn't KNOW about it and therefore haven't planned ahead.

     
  34.  
    On air 08:46: Vanessa Feltz Presenter, BBC London 94.9

    Britain's housing estates are "nothing short of a national embarrassment" according to a new report written by the political think tank, Policy Exchange.

    Broadwater Farm estate in Tottenham is singled out with living conditions described as "terrible". I'll have more from 0900.

     
  35.  
    'Priciest city for culture' 08:37:

    London is the most expensive city in Europe for cultural activities, a survey by Post Office Travel Money has suggested.

    London

    A visit by two people to an art gallery, a museum, a heritage site, the opera, the ballet and a classical concert costs a total £256.

     
  36.  
    Tube disruption 08:26: Paul Murphy-Kasp Journalist, BBC London

    The Central Line is closed between White City and Leytonstone as some Tube drivers strike.

    There are severe delays on the rest of the line. For travel updates on Twitter, follow @BBCLondonNews

     
  37.  
    Top headlines
     
  38.  
    M25 closure 08:18: Paul Murphy-Kasp Journalist, BBC London

    The M25 is closed anti-clockwise between J26 and 27 because of a lorry spilling fuel.

    It will be closed for most of the morning to be resurfaced. For more updates visit BBC London's travel website.

     
  39.  
    Sunny spells 08:11:

    Early rain will quickly clear. Then it will be a mainly dry morning with sunny spells, but with a fresh feeling north-westerly breeze returning. A few showers may develop during the afternoon.

    Maximum temperature: 21C (70F).

     
  40.  
    08:00: Rebecca Cafe BBC News

    Good morning, I'll be guiding you through BBC Local Live today, bringing you the latest news, travel, weather and sport from across London.

    Get in touch with your comments and photos by emailing or tweeting @BBCLondonNews

     

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.