An IPCC investigation has found that both Devon and Cornwall Police officers and Ministry of Defence Police officers acted in accordance with professional standards during events prior to the death of Darren Wakefield in a harbour in Plymouth in October 2014.
The IPCC has though made recommendations to the National Police Chiefs Council about issuing clearer guidance to all forces on having water rescue policies and working practices with other forces and external agencies in such circumstances. The IPCC investigation report is published following a HM Coroner inquest in Plymouth that today returned a narrative finding.
The use by a Devon and Cornwall officer of a personal mobile phone to call for assistance from MOD Police meant the IPCC did not have access to recordings of conversations. The investigator was of the opinion that this did not amount to a case to answer for misconduct but did deprive the IPCC of proper records.
The investigation also found some degree of confusion within the MOD control room over the policies for assisting other police forces. A subsequent review by the MOD Police took note of these findings.
IPCC Associate Commissioner Tom Milsom said:
“Following today’s inquest finding my first thoughts are with Darren’s family and friends.
“The IPCC investigation found that officers involved in the initial pursuit and subsequent rescue attempts of Mr Wakefield acted within professional guidelines. We have though advised the NPCC that all forces should have better guidelines for working with other agencies when dealing with water rescues.”
The two IPCC final reports can be found here.