Beds, Herts & Bucks

Leon Briggs death: Five police officers could face prosecution

Leon Briggs
Image caption Leon Briggs died in hospital after becoming ill at Luton police station

Five Bedfordshire Police officers could face criminal charges over the death of a man in custody, the police watchdog has said.

Leon Briggs, 39, died in hospital on 4 November 2013 after being detained at Luton police station.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has now referred the case to the Crown Prosecution Service.

It said there was "an indication" that five officers and a member of staff "may have committed crimes".

Bedfordshire Police has not made comment.

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Mr Briggs was being held under section 136 of the Mental Health Act following concerns about his behaviour in Marsh Road in the town.

While at the station Mr Briggs was placed in a cell and restrained. He later became ill and was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Lengthy investigation

In a lengthy probe, the IPCC has investigated a police detention officer and five police officers - two police constables and three sergeants - for their involvement in the restraint of Mr Briggs, all of whom were suspended.

Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption Leon Briggs was restrained in a cell at Luton police station

The Crown Prosecution Service will now decide whether any charges will follow.

IPCC Commissioner Mary Cuneen said: "I have decided that there is an indication five officers and a member of staff may have committed criminal offences.

"I have therefore referred the case to the Crown Prosecution Service to consider whether there is sufficient evidence and if it would be in the public interest for any offences of unlawful act manslaughter, gross negligence manslaughter, misconduct in public office, and health and safety offences to be charged."

Mr Briggs' family has been updated and the officers and staff member concerned have been provided with a summary of the IPCC's conclusions.

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