Police watchdog announces rare reinvestigation of restraint death

Darren Cumberbatch
Darren Cumberbatch

source: INQUEST
published: 20 July 2017

Darren Cumberbatch, a 32 year old Black man, died in hospital on 19 July 2017, nine days after excessive use of force against him by Warwickshire Police officers. This took place whilst he was experiencing a mental health crisis in a bail hostel, McIntyre House, in Nuneaton.

A jury inquest took place in 2019 and found the police use of force against Darren, which ‘may have been excessive and avoidable’, contributed to his death. See notes for further background. Last year the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) included Darren’s death in a critical review of cases involving Tasers. This led Darren’s and other families to call for reinvestigation of their cases.

Today the IOPC has admitted that there were material flaws in their original investigation into Darren’s death. They have announced a rare decision to reinvestigate key elements of the case, in particular the officers’ entry into the toilet cubicle in McIntyre House where Darren had retreated, and their subsequent use of force.

The IOPC agrees with the family that the reasonableness of the officers’ decision to enter the toilet area was not sufficiently challenged by their original investigation. Equally, the officers’ lack of communication, planning, and leadership was not sufficiently explored. Had this been done then the IOPC considers it likely that the events at McIntyre House, leading up to the officers entering the toilet area, would have been the subject of a conduct investigation.

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