Sunday, March 20, 2016

British cops found guilty of misconduct after they failed to check on mother who choked to death while in custody

Police have been found guilty of misconduct after a 48-year-old woman choked to death on her underwear while in custody.

Martine Brandon was arrested by officers in Eastleigh, Hampshire, after they discovered her carrying an eight-inch knife in November 2014.

The mother-of-one, who was described as 'very vulnerable' in a hearing, told police she wanted to kill her sister as she believed her family was in danger.

Mrs Brandon, 48, was taken to custody but was later found dead in a cell at Southampton Custody Centre. An inquest recorded a verdict of suicide.

An investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission has now found two police officers and two members of police staff to have committed misconduct.

The police watchdog, which looked into Mrs Brandon's death and time in custody, found individual and systematic failings in her care.

Two custody detention officers were found to have conducted unsatisfactory and inadequate checks Mrs Brandon, who ate her underwear while in the cell.

They included a quick glances through the spyhole on her cell door, a missed check and inaccurate log entries.

One officer was given a final written warning while the second custody detention officer had left Hampshire Constabulary and therefore cannot face any disciplinary processes.

A third custody detention staff member made inappropriate comments in relation to detainees in the cell block during the time of Mrs Brandon's detention. He was found to have committed misconduct and received a written warning.

According to the IPCC investigation, two custody sergeants also committed misconduct with one failing to ensure adequate checks were made on Mrs Brandon and failing to conduct an adequate check himself.

The other sergeant had made inappropriate and unprofessional comments during Mrs Brandon's detention.

Jennifer Izekor, IPCC commissioner, described the situation as 'incredibly difficult' for Mrs Brandon's family.  She added: 'It was evident from our investigation that Mrs Brandon was a very vulnerable person who did not receive the level of care she needed while in custody.  'I hope and believe that Hampshire Constabulary will learn lessons from this sad case and ensure their practices are improved and their staff are properly trained.'

Speaking after Mrs Brandon's inquest last week, her husband Barry Brandon said: 'Nothing will bring Martine back, I know that.

'My sole intention is to make sure no one else will have to go through the treatment that Martine went through.'

The IPCC will publish the investigation report at a later date.

Original report here

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