Officers missed signs of life on hanged man

Two Essex Police officers have received additional training after it emerged they missed signs of life on a man found hanging inside his home.

Dec 13, 2019
By Tony Thompson

They were called to an incident after a mental health practitioner raised concerns about the welfare of one of his patients. The officers attended the address and found the man had barricaded himself inside. They forced their way in and found he had hanged himself.

The officers left the scene without attempting to remove the ligature from the man’s neck in order to preserve evidence. However, when a paramedic arrived, she found the man to be warm to the touch and began CPR. He was then transferred to hospital but pronounced dead a short time later.

The incident was referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) which began an investigation. They concluded no officers had committed misconduct but agreed with Essex Police that further training should take place following the incident in December last year.

A spokesperson for the IOPC said: “The body worn video footage provided evidence that one of the officers had checked the man for a pulse, which he could not feel, and had concluded that the man was dead, based on this fact and the observation that he did not appear to be breathing.

“Both officers stated that they had not removed the ligature from the man’s neck as a result of this conclusion and had sought to preserve evidence from the scene.

“The paramedics stated that they checked for signs of life when they arrived.

“They made efforts to revive the man based on the finding that he was still warm to the touch.

“At the end of the investigation, based on the evidence available, we found no indication that any person serving with the police may have behaved in a manner that would justify the bringing of disciplinary proceedings, or had committed a criminal offence.

“Essex Police proposed both officers receive further training to be able to effectively deal with another hanging scenario. It was therefore our view that management action was not required.”

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