Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

'Distressed' man who asked police officer to arrest him was found dead the next day

Cleveland Police has implemented a review of its control room after it emerged that a distressed man who was taken to a mental health unit by a police officer, later discharged himself, and was found dead the following day.

It happened in August 2017, but the case has been examined by the Independent Office for Police Complaints, which ruled that two control room staff members had failed to ensure the correct safeguarding.

After the man had discharged himself from the hospital the doctors rang the police to say the man had left himself, but no investigation was launched to find him.

  • An IOPC report said:

At 12.06pm a member of the hospital staff called Cleveland Police to advise the man had left the hospital before being assessed.

Control room personnel passed this information to the officer at 12.11pm and the log was closed. No further investigation took place to locate the man.

After being found, the man was pronounced dead at 10.34am on August 16, 2017.

During the investigation, our investigators interviewed one police officer and three contractors working in the control room for alleged misconduct, and took witness statements from hospital staff.

They also obtained audio recordings of calls regarding the man, and documentary evidence from hospital and police systems.

– IOPC REPORT

The report also said that 'the police officer had acted appropriately in their dealings with the man' but was mistaken to believe that they were being notified by the control room that the man had left hospital because of their earlier contact with them, and that any further action should have been directed by the control room.

The report also said the performance of two contractors working in the control room could be considered unsatisfactory for the following reasons:

  • failing to conduct a risk assessment
  • failing to consider the man as a missing person
  • and failing to ensure that appropriate safeguarding enquiries were carried out

After reviewing the report, Cleveland Police agreed that the performance of both control room contractors would be dealt with as unsatisfactory performance, to include a meeting with their line managers.

The force will also deal with the matter as organisational learning.

In a statement, Cleveland Police said:

Management have held conversations with all employees involved, providing advice and embedding learnings from the incident.

The control room management has also undertaken a review and has embedded organisational learnings as a result of the investigation.

A written briefing regarding this incident has been disseminated to all control room staff.

This document covers the circumstances of the incident and the findings of the IOPC in relation to call handling and dispatch.

In addition refresher training has been provided to all control room staff and an additional audit regime established to further monitor and improve the assessment of threat, harm and risk.

– Cleveland Police