New police inquiry into Gosport hospital deaths
A new police investigation into the deaths of over 450 patients in Hampshire will be led by head of serious crime from another force.
Hampshire Constabulary has announced that Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney will step down from any role in examining practices at Gosport War Memorial Hospital.
Last month, the force had to fend off calls for criminal prosecutions following the findings of the Gosport War Memorial Independent Panel which found the lives of 456 people were shortened after they were given powerful painkillers while in hospital.
The panel, led by the former Bishop of Liverpool the Rt Rev James Jones, said whistleblowers and families were ignored as they attempted to raise concerns about the administration of medication at the hospital.
Three previous police investigations into 92 of the deaths had resulted in no charges.
The new police inquiry will be led by Assistant Chief Constable Nick Downing, Head of Serious Crime for Kent and Essex Police.
Ms Pinkney said: “I have ensured that this decision has been shared first with the families and the Panel before being communicated to the wider public.
“Immediately following the publication of the [panel’s] report, I met with relevant national policing leaders including the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for Major Crime and the National Police Operations Coordination Centre (NPOCC) to consider how to take this forward with independence from Hampshire.”
Mr Downing will be meeting various parties within the Gosport War Memorial Hospital’s Independent panel report to discuss the investigation before it commences in September.
Ms Pinkney added: “Hampshire Constabulary remains accountable and continues to stand ready to support the next steps in any way required.”