17th May 2013

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has published its independent review of its investigation into the death of Sean Rigg.  The review was commissioned following the inquest into the death of Sean Rigg at which the jury made damning findings about the police conduct and which revealed serious disparities between the evidence and findings of the inquest jury and the IPCC’s own investigation findings.  This is the first time an IPCC investigation has been critically analysed by an external review.

The independent review, conducted by Dr Silvia Casale with the support of James Lewis QC and Martin Corfe, was carried out between November 2012 and April 2013.

The family, their lawyers and INQUEST met regularly with the review team and INQUEST also made a written submission.

Marcia Rigg said: “Almost five years after our brother’s unnecessary death this report shows just how badly we were failed by the IPCC, not to mention the police.  It is frightening to think that in the intervening years as we struggled for justice more families will have been failed in the same way.

“The fact that the IPCC has accepted all the report’s recommendations is incredibly encouraging for us. We recognise the importance of a body like the IPCC to hold the police to account. But that is exactly what it must do. We hope that a complete re-investigation of the issues identified by the review, with new consideration of police misconduct and criminal proceedings, will take place as quickly as possible.

“And the police and the police federation need to sit up and take notice of this report and get their own houses in order rather than obstructing the IPCC in its statutory role.”

Deborah Coles, co-director INQUEST said: “INQUEST welcomes this report which offers a blueprint as to how contentious police deaths should be handled by the IPCC.

“The litany of failings identified in the report not only vindicate Sean Rigg's family's concerns over the IPCC investigation and police conduct but also point to the need for significant practice change for the IPCC, police and Police Federation. The test will be in the prompt and robust implementation of its recommendations.

“Both the interests of bereaved people and public will be better served by an IPCC that can hold the police to account for criminality or misconduct and help develop good practice and safeguard lives in the future.

“We welcome the important recognition the review gives to the need for the consideration of mental health and race in the conduct of IPCC investigations.”

INQUEST has been working with the family of Sean Rigg since his death in August 2008. The Rigg family is represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group members Leslie Thomas and Thomas Stoate of Garden Court Chambers and Daniel Machover and Helen Stone of Hickman and Rose Solicitors.