The police force responsible for giving mass shooter Jake Davison back his shotgun and licence before he killed five people in Plymouth is now the subject of a criminal investigation.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has today revealed Devon and Cornwall Police's firearms licensing unit is being investigated over potential health and safety breaches.
Jake Davison shot dead five people in the Keyham area of the city on August 12 last year before turning the gun on himself.
His victims were his mother, Maxine Davison, Lee Martyn and his three-year-old daughter Sophie, Stephen Henderson and Kate Shepherd. He also injured a mother and son.
Following the 12-minute attack - which is one of the worst in UK history - it came to light Davison had previously had his shotgun and licence seized after assaulting two youths in a park.
They were returned to him 34 days before the Keyham tragedy.
Three members of Devon and Cornwall Police staff have since been served gross misconduct notices as part of the IOPC's investigation.
Following a pre-inquest review hearing in Plymouth today, the watchdog has revealed a criminal investigation is now underway into Devon and Cornwall Police.
An IOPC spokesperson told ITV News: “We can confirm we have begun an investigation into Devon and Cornwall Police for potential breaches of health and safety legislation in the running of its Firearms Licensing Unit prior to the mass shooting in Plymouth in August last year.
“At the conclusion of our investigation into the force’s granting of a shotgun certificate and later return to Jake Davison of a shotgun, we sought specialist legal advice and have since decided to conduct a criminal investigation.
“Our investigation will examine whether the Office of the Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police, as corporation sole, may have committed any offences contrary to the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
"We have advised the force, the Police and Crime Commissioner, the coroner and families of our decision."
Assistance Chief constable Jim Nye said: "Devon and Cornwall Police’s thoughts remain with those families, victims and survivors a year on from the events of August 2021 in Keyham.
"Throughout the past year, the force has co-operated fully with the IOPC investigation, the coronial process and commissioned an independent review of the force’s firearms licensing procedures by Durham Constabulary.
"We are aware of the latest developments from the IOPC investigation and continue to co-operate fully with them, while considering next steps the force may choose to take on this matter.
"The force notes this development is in its early stages and no determination in terms of potential corporate culpability has been decided.
"We continue to respect the coronial process in preparation for a full inquest in January 2023."