Friday, November 07, 2014

Police chief forced to apologise to family of father-of-two who died in a cell while officers watched porn when they should have been checking on him

And a known liar and fabricator of evidence keeps his job!

A police chief has been forced to issue a shameful apology to the family of a father-of-two who died in a cell while officers who should have been monitoring him watched porn.

Lloyd Butler, 39, was arrested on suspicion of being drunk and incapable on August 4 2010 - and died in custody three hours later after suffering a cardiac arrest.

An inquest held in June heard officers should have taken him to hospital for monitoring but instead brought him to Stechford Police Station in Birmingham and dumped him in a cell.

And rather than keeping a watch every 15 minutes on Mr Butler, officers from West Midlands Police viewed sex websites, and watched Sky Sports on police computers.

Shocking footage taken at the time showed a group of police officers laughing and swearing while Mr Butler died just feet away in a custody cell.

CCTV also showed officers earlier dragging him out of a police van by his legs causing his trousers to fall down.

The three members of staff involved were all allowed to keep their jobs despite being found guilty of misconduct.

Today Chris Sims, Chief Constable of West Midlands Police, issued a an apology to Mr Butler's mother Janet and said lessons had been learnt from the tragedy. At a Strategic Police and Crime Board meeting attended by Mrs Butler, he said: 'There is nothing more important than looking after people in our custody. 'I would like to extend my personal condolences to Lloyd Butler's mother.'

A damning Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) report found staff had 'disregarded human decency' in their treatment of Mr Butler.

The chief constable told the meeting the force had since adopted 'six areas of learning' recommended in the IPCC report. These included constant observation of detainees, the availability of internet access in custody suites as well the inclusion of CPR masks.

Assistant Chief Constable Gareth Cann told the meeting that the last time a drunk and incapable person had been taken into custody was in August 2012. He added that there were now 'gateway checks' in place to ensure that drunk and incapable suspects are now taken to hospital instead.

He said 'a lot had changed' in custody since Mr Butler died, including structures of command, training of staff and both the numbers and quality of facilities.

In a narrative verdict at Birmingham Coroner's Court in June, a jury decided that Mr Butler, from Tile Cross, Birmingham, died from a cardiac arrest related to underlying alcohol problems.

They found that he should not have been in a cell after watching CCTV footage of officers failing to watch over their prisoner.

Birmingham coroner Louise Hunt said a 'change of culture' was needed in West Midlands Police and she submitted her report to the force to prevent future deaths.

Speaking after the inquest Mr Butler's distraught mother Janet, 64, blasted the officers - branding them 'an absolute disgrace.' She said 'They failed Lloyd, they failed him miserably.

'They failed Lloyd in their duty of care to him and I feel they assisted in his death. 'It's very clear from the evidence we've seen over the last week-and-a-half that police officers were not carrying out procedures. 'If those procedures had been carried out, my son would have been alive today. 'Their behaviour was an absolute disgrace.'

A misconduct hearing in January 2013 found two officers who dealt with Mr Butler guilty of misconduct, PC Dean Woodcock, who arrested Mr Butler, surfed the Internet and made personal calls rather than monitoring CCTV footage of Mr Butler's cell. He and a civilian employee, Detention Escort Officer Darren Wall, joked about Mr Butler's condition and made insulting remarks about him.

The officer was found guilty of misconduct and had to undergo further training and development. Mr Wall was also found guilty of misconduct and received a written warning and management advice.

Custody sergeant Mark Albutt faked records to make it appear officers were checking Mr Butler more often and more thoroughly than was the case. He was found guilty of gross misconduct and handed a final written warning. So a known liar can continue as a cop???

Original report here

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