Police under investigation over Plymouth mass shooting

“During today’s hearing it was revealed that the Independent Office of Police Conduct had made a request to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to “record and refer” a conduct matter in regards to the Chief Constable in their corporate sole under the Health and Safety at Work Act. However, it was noted during the hearing that the commissioner had declined this and the IOPC chose to refer the matter to themselves.”

(Devon and Cornwall police are facing a criminal investigation into alleged breaches of health and safety rules before the Plymouth mass shooting. Police sources emphasised that no individual faced criminal investigation. A “corporation sole” is a legal entity consisting of a single incorporated office. See report in national press)

Lisa Letcher www.devonlive.com

A watchdog investigation has been launched into Devon and Cornwall Police following the mass shooting in Plymouth last summer. The IOPC is investigating over potential breaches of health and safety legislation.

It related to the running of its Firearms Licensing Unit prior to the mass shooting in Keyham, in which five innocent people lost their lives. Jake Davison, 22, killed his mother Maxine, 51, after a row and then shot dead four others in a 12-minute attack.

The pre-inquest review (PIR) into the deaths of the five people murdered in Keyham on August 12, 2021 was held earlier today (September 13) at Plymouth Crown Court with the aim of preparing for the full hearing. That will now take place on January 17 next year.

During today’s hearing it was revealed that the Independent Office of Police Conduct had made a request to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to “record and refer” a conduct matter in regards to the Chief Constable in their corporate sole under the Health and Safety at Work Act. However, it was noted during the hearing that the commissioner had declined this and the IOPC chose to refer the matter to themselves.

In a statement released after the hearing, a spokesperson for the Independent Office of Police Conduct said: “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.”

A statement in response, from Devon and Cornwall Police’s assistant 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 last 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.

He continued: “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.”

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