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Tag Archive: police complaints

Police restraint death: family looking to IOPC for urgent answers

Kevin Clarke


The family of 35-year-old, Kevin Clarke, who died earlier this month after being restrained by London Metropolitan Police officers, has issued the following statement through their solicitor, Cyrilia Davies Knight of Hudgell Solicitors:

“On Friday 9 March 2018, our family was informed that our beloved son, brother and cousin, Kevin Andre Clarke was dead.

“Kevin was well-known and loved in our community and we will truly miss him. He was a father figure and a role model to so many, even when he was going through his difficult times. He was also a gifted footballer, who would coach young people and dreamt about pursuing this; unfortunately his dream was cut short.

“We do not know exactly what happened or the circumstances which led to Kevin’s untimely death. We are left with so many questions and hope that the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) will swiftly complete their investigations into Kevin’s death and that those officers involved will offer their full cooperation.”

“Finally, we ask that you keep us in your prayers, we do appreciate all the love and support we have been shown during this difficult time.”

Cyrilia Davies Knight added: “I’ll be working closely with the family, the coroner and the IOPC to ensure that an honest, open and swift investigation takes place into the circumstances surrounding Kevin’s tragic death.”

 

Related News

Independent

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28/03/2018 No Comments

Murder of Jacqueline Oakes: Inquest to be resumed

Jacqueline Oakes


Lawyers acting on behalf of the family of murdered Birmingham woman, Jacqueline Oakes have been told that an inquest into her death is to resume.

After considering an application from law firm, Hudgell Solicitors, on behalf of Jenny, Maria and Rafi Oakes, Jacqueline’s children, the Senior Coroner for Birmingham and Solihull, Mrs Louise Hunt has today confirmed that an Article 2 inquest will resume.

An earlier inquest into Jacqueline’s death was opened and adjourned in 2014 due to the criminal proceedings taking place against Marcus Musgrove, who was subsequently found guilty of her murder and sentenced to a minimum of 18 years in July 2014.

Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights protects the right to life and imposes obligations upon state bodies, such as the police and health providers to take appropriate steps to safeguard lives. An Article 2 inquest will examine not only the circumstances surrounding a death, but also the role state bodies might have played in that death.

Civil liberties and police action specialist Andrew Petherbridge of Hudgell Solicitors says: “I’m very grateful to the coroner for the careful consideration she has given this matter and that there will now be a wide-ranging examination into the circumstances surrounding Jacqueline’s death. It is our view that an Article 2 inquest was essential given the large number of state bodies that had contact with Jacqueline in the lead up to her untimely death.”

Jenny Oakes says: “We’re so pleased to hear that there will now be a thorough investigation into our Mom’s death. We believe there were so many unnecessary failings that led to our Mom being killed and we hope that the inquest will shine a light on these and help other families in the process. We can’t bring our Mom back, but we can at least get answers as to why she is no longer with us.”

The coroner has scheduled a three-week inquest to start on 1 October 2018.

Related News

BBC

Birmingham Mail

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26/01/2018 No Comments

Failure of police forces to attend thousands of domestic violence calls is worrying and could have serious consequences

Domestic Abuse


Police forces are potentially putting thousands of victims of domestic violence in danger by failing to attend incidents and by conducting risk assessments over the telephone, it has been claimed.

Figures obtained by the Independent newspaper, from Freedom of Information requests to forces, revealed the proportion of incidents where officers have failed to show up more than doubled between 2012 and 2016.

It means that last year at least 39,686 calls went unattended, while it took police more than 24 hours to get to the scenes of a further 32,007 reported crimes.

Police watchdog Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has quite rightly raised its concerns.

It says there can be ‘serious consequences for the victim if the response is delayed’, and that accurate assessments of danger are ‘impossible’ without seeing the victim and others in the household in person.

Police forces have unsurprisingly been quick to defend themselves in light of these revelations, and the Home Office has described domestic abuse as ‘a life-shattering and abhorrent crime’, saying the Government has made it a priority to tackle.

Individual forces have also stressed that some calls are retrospective and the victim may therefore not be in immediate danger, and that decisions can be taken not to attend immediately if people have called in confidence, as that could put them in greater danger.

That is of course accepted and understood, but with the number of reported domestic abuse incidents rising 60 per cent in the three years to June 2016, the percentage of times police forces are attending is falling too rapidly also.

That cannot be allowed to continue, as if it does, the potential to allow life-threatening situations of domestic abuse to develop will be all the more likely.

Police response and investigation into to calls of domestic violence scrutinised

In our civil liberties department at Hudgell Solicitors we are currently handling a number of cases directly linked to the responses and investigations of police forces to reports of domestic violence.

In each case we are asking serious questions as to whether more could and should have been done to prevent the eventual outcomes, which have ended in serious attacks and even the loss of life.

We certainly feel uncomfortable with some forces not attending at the scene following as many as a quarter of calls, as has been the case at Devon and Cornwall, where officers failed to attend 7,855 of 30,298 calls.

And it is a major worry that these latest figures follow a recent report by HMICFRS which last month found some forces were ‘downgrading’ the severity of emergency calls to justify slower response times.

It all paints a combined picture of less questions being asked, less thorough investigations taking place, and less physical policing and protection on the streets and in our homes.

Whatever the reasons behind this, it is a road to danger and a trend which is only likely to put more people at risk.

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11/12/2017 No Comments

Less than a quarter of people say UK policing makes them feel safe as nine in 10 call for more officers to be employed



Our first-of-its-kind national study to find out the British public’s perceptions of the Police has yielded some interesting results which we share below.

  • Two in five feel officers do a great job – but less than a quarter feel safe
  • 89 per cent of those questioned call for more officers on streets
  • 67% feel police are overworked
  • Legal firm sees 34% rise in civil liberties cases

Less than a quarter of people (22%) who took part in a survey of policing in the UK say they currently feel safe and protected by police officers.

Almost one in five said they either didn’t trust the police or felt officers would not provide protection for them if in danger, with 89 per cent calling for the Government to employ more officers on the streets.

The study was conducted by civil liberties specialists Hudgell Solicitors to explore the nation’s perceptions of policing and the other emergency services, following a 34% increase in civil liberties cases at the firm over the past 12 months.

Although two-in-five people (41%) said they felt police officers do a great job, 67 per cent raised concerns about them being overworked, with four in five (80%) calling for greater financial support for policing from the Government.

Perhaps unsurprisingly given recent large-scale incidents, terrorism (38%) was highlighted as the biggest challenge facing the police forces in the UK today, followed by drugs and alcohol (17%) and serious violence (15%).

Policing in the UK Infographic

Policing in the UK Infographic

Andrew Petherbridge, a specialist in handling police misconduct and civil liberties claims at Hudgell Solicitors, said the results of the anonymous study, which was hosted online, suggest increasing concern over the police’s ability to protect the public given limited resources.

“It is certainly not surprising to see people calling for more officers on the streets, something which has long been an issue and will perhaps continue to be something high on the political agenda for some time,” he said.

“The fact that so many people are now saying they feel unsafe, that police officers are overworked and unable to properly protect law-abiding people, is a really strong message.

“Recent events and attacks will of course have impacted on these results, but many clearly now don’t feel safe on the UK’s streets, or don’t feel police will protect them as they should.”

Almost half of those surveyed (43%) said 20,000 more police officers are needed on the streets, with just 11 per cent satisfied with the current number serving.

Furthermore, 89 per cent of respondents agreed that the police need to be more visible in cities across the country, and when asked which political party they feel is most committed to improving policing in the UK, the Labour party was the clear leader with 57 per cent.

Just over half of those questioned (51%) said their perceptions of the police had been influenced by their own experiences, whilst 30% said experiences their family and friends had impacted on their views.

Other influencing factors on views of the police include the portrayal of police by the media (40%), how frequently they patrol neighbourhoods (25%), certain laws that they enforce (e.g. speeding penalties) (21%) and police portrayal in television documentaries and dramas (19%).

People can continue to share their views by completing the study here: https://www.hudgellsolicitors.co.uk/civil-liberties/policing-in-the-uk/

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20/09/2017 No Comments

Report into police custody deaths highlights conferring over statements, treatment of mentally ill and use of excessive restraint as concerns



It seems highly significant that an official review into police custody deaths is set to lead to more than 100 recommendations being made in a bid to make far-reaching reforms to the UK police and justice system.

The findings of the report, which are still to be officially published but have been reported by the Guardian newspaper in advance, do not reflect well on the actions of police forces across the UK when taking people into custody.

According to the newspaper article, a ‘racial disproportionality in police restraint deaths’ has been highlighted, with calls made for forces to be held to account on “an individual and corporate levels” if restraint of a suspect is deemed excessive, unnecessary or disproportionate.

The recommendations of Dame Elish Angiolini QC, a former chief lawyer to the Scottish government, also appear to call into question the integrity of some police forces following deaths in custody.

It is said to highlight ‘conferring’ between officers after incidents and before they make their individual statements is a matter of concern.

The report is also said to highlight “victim blaming” – in which police forces leak details to the media after a death in a bid to “deflect blame” – as another area of worry.

Such findings certainly do little to boost public confidence in our police forces and suggest Theresa May was right in her actions when ordering this this report when still Home Secretary.

When finally published, the finding and conclusions of this report could further damage that level of trust between families and communities and our police forces.

Sadly, many people are unjustly treated badly, and then find obstructions in their way when looking to challenge the actions of those employed to uphold the law.

Calls for major change in police custody

One of the most significant aspects of the report, as reported by the Guardian, is a call for a ban on those detained under mental health powers being held in police cells, and being transported in police vehicles, except in exceptional cases.

The report is expected to say that holding those believed to be suffering from mental health issues in police cells should be phased out completely, and this is certainly something I believe is a much needed change.

Too often, in the cases I have seen in my work as a civil liberties specialist at Hudgell Solicitors and read about, the mental capacity of an individual when being taken into custody has not been considered early enough in the matter.

The report is set to urge mental health training of the same standard across all 44 forces in England and Wales for officers, new recruits, plus refresher training.

I believe this would make officers better placed to spot when people have mental health challenges, and have a hugely positive impact on policing and reducing health risks.

Cameras in police vans and on all officers would eliminate conflicting accounts

It is also very interesting to read that Dame Angiolini is to call for video cameras in every police van used to transport a prisoner, and on every frontline officer.

This again would be a very valuable change, as I have worked on cases where the events around an arrest – and during transportation of a suspect to a station – have been strongly disputed and inconsistent.

Without any video footage it can be very difficult to draw an accurate conclusion as to what actually happened. There can, however, rarely be dispute over clear video evidence.

I also welcome moves to ensure families of those who die in police custody will receive “free, non means-tested” legal advice from the start of the process, through to an inquest.

At present, police and state organisations are publicly funded to defend themselves against accusations of wrongdoing and misconduct, while families are often left struggling to get legal aid to cover the cost of holding forces to account.

Finally, the report is to call on the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) to robustly challenge discrimination – even to where it can simply have been ‘inferred’ – and to establish a deaths and serious injuries unit.

It says the IPCC must do better in its work to gain public confidence, calling on it to formally request in writing the suspension of officers under investigation for criminal matters or for gross misconduct, or placing them on restricted duties, with a presumption they will be dismissed if found guilty.

Thankfully, the numbers of deaths in police custody have been declining, from 65 in 1998 to 17 last year and 14 the previous year.

But still, given the huge amount of recommendations being made here, it is clear that major improvements are needed.

These changes need to be made quickly to improve the relationship and trust between public and police.

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07/09/2017 No Comments

Findings of investigation into shooting of Hull man Lewis Skelton expected before end of year

Lewis Skelton | Findings of investigation into shooting of Hull man Lewis Skelton expected before end of year


The findings of an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation into the shooting of a man by police in Hull last year are expected before the end of the year.

Lewis Skelton, 31, died after ‘two live rounds’ were shot at him in Francis Street, Hull city centre, at 9.30am on November 29 last year.

His death resulted in the IPCC case being launched, and his family instructed civil liberties specialists Hudgell Solicitors to act on their behalf.

Now, lawyer Andrew Petherbridge says the findings of the investigation are expected before the end of the year.

“We have been kept up-to-date with the progress of the ongoing investigation by the IPCC and we thank them for that,” said Mr Petherbridge.

“It is our understanding that all relevant officers who were called to the scene on this tragic day have now been interviewed and given their accounts of what they say happened and why, as has the commander from the operations room.

“That is certainly welcome news as it hopefully means that Lewis’ family are closer to getting answers as to what happened on that day.

“Lewis’ family accept and understand that the events of that day last year cannot be changed

“We are hoping that, as part of the IPCC investigation, all relevant questions have been asked of Humberside Police with regard to their actions that morning, and whether there could have been another outcome to this matter which did not result in the loss of life.”

Family want ‘every avenue explored’ as part of investigation

It is alleged that Mr Skelton had been carrying an axe when police were alerted by members of the public. A post mortem examination showed he died from gunshot wounds.

His family informed investigators that he suffered from a mental health condition, and the IPCC recovered the weapons used on the morning, as well as searching Mr Skelton’s flat on Durham Street, as part of their investigation.

Mr Skelton’s sister Laura said: “It has been such a long and difficult time since we lost Lewis last year. Not only was his sudden death a massive shock to us all, but the nature of it has been so hard to accept and understand.

“It is vital to us that we feel every avenue is explored getting to the bottom of what actually happened that day.”

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18/08/2017 No Comments

Fisher Meredith Solicitors’ expertise acquired by Hudgell Solicitors

Andrew Arthur | Police Complaints Solicitor and Head of Civil Liberties Department London


Hudgell Solicitors is delighted to have further expanded its Human Rights Breaches department by appointing a leading civil liberties expert from Fisher Meredith Solicitors London.

Andrew Arthur, the Head of Fisher Meredith LLP’s Police Law and Civil Liberties department has joined Hudgell Solicitors to oversee its rapidly growing department in the capital.

Highly experienced in this specialised area of legal work, Mr Arthur’s current caseload covers all areas of police and prison law – including County Court and High Court trials, and Judicial Reviews.

He has extensive expertise in supporting victims of false imprisonment arising from wrongful arrest, malicious prosecution, miscarriages of justice, unlawful stop and searches or assault by police or prison officers. He has also led many cases involving Human Rights Act and Data Protection Act issues, discrimination on grounds of race, gender or other characteristics.

Fisher Meredith Solicitor has proven track record of winning cases leading to new legal guidelines

In his role at Fisher Meredith London, Mr Arthur regularly provided advice on a range of prison law matters – including assaults on inmates, lifer panels, parole hearings, visiting rights, home detention curfew, categorisation and adjudications.

Having developed into a specialist in claims against the Prison Service, brought under the Human Rights Act 1998, he has acted in a number of claims relating to disabled prisoners’ rights.

His notable police law cases include helping secure a client £25,200 damages in the High Court after a jury found that a police officer had fabricated his evidence leading to a wrongful conviction.

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner appealed the decision, but ultimately lost the appeal, with the Court of Appeal finding in his client’s favour. The case established and confirmed important legal principles for all malicious prosecution claims.

He also won another case in the Court of Appeal which highlighted the duty of the Crown Prosecution Service to act quickly upon receipt of new evidence that might exonerate those held in custody on remand.

His notable prison law cases include a case in which he succeeded in the High Court on behalf of his client, where it was found that the decision to handcuff him during medical treatment amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment.

More recently, he helped to secure £45,000 damages from the Metropolitan Police for an autistic man who was bitten by an out-of-control police dog which was not on lead and had been ‘trained to bite’. The victim had been talking to the dog handler when it suddenly attacked without warning.

Having qualified as a solicitor in May 1999 and joined Fisher Meredith in June 2001, Mr Arthur is a member of the Police Action Lawyers Group and the Association of Prison Lawyers and was shortlisted for “Human Rights Lawyer of the Year” award in the Law Society Excellence Awards 2016.

Whilst he is obviously excited at the prospect of joining the Hudgell team, Mr Arthur will still oversee all aspects of the strong civil liberties caseload he built up during his time at Fisher Meredith LLP.

He said: “Fisher Meredith London has been very successful in our work in recent years and recognised across the industry for our expertise. We are bringing a strong caseload and a proven track record to Hudgell Solicitors.

“I am sure this move will be very positive for both Hudgell Solicitors and for myself as we have very similar goals as to how we want to represent people and what we want to achieve.”

Neil Hudgell, managing director of Hudgell Solicitors, believes the deal indicates why his firm is becoming the first choice for those seeking advice relating to police misconduct and breaches of human rights.

Get free legal advice from our expert human rights solicitors

Do you think you’ve been wrongfully arrested or unjustly treated by those in authority?

Taking on a public body like the police or prison service can be complex when it comes to human rights cases. Enlisting the help of our former Fisher Meredith human rights solicitor, Andrew Arthur, will make the whole process easier, so why not get in touch?

 

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15/08/2017 No Comments

Increased stop and search powers is not the sole solution – police must understand communities and young people better to reduce knife crime and attacks

Police stop and search | Complaints against the police


There is much debate at present as a result of Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Cressida Dick, encouraging her officers to increase their use of stop and search powers in a bid to tackle rising knife crime and acid attacks.

Statistics show that black people are still four times more likely than white people to be stopped. These figures validate the already widely held belief that stop and search is discriminatory, and there is a great likelihood that its increased use will widen the divide between the police and already alienated and isolated communities. This current indiscriminate use of stop and search brings about distrust and discord in the BAME community, creating an us versus them mentality, when the reality is the police have a difficult job to do in trying to protect and serve the community.

How do we therefore achieve a balanced crime fighting measure?

Firstly, there needs to be greater investment in marginalised communities and the provision of greater infrastructure and engagement with young people in order to reduce crime. Building relationships with key community leaders and providing them with the necessary support to educate and nurture young people in order to keep them safe is key.

Communities should also be seen as part of the solution, not part of the problem. Police forces must get to the root cause of why young people are carrying offensive weapons, knives, guns, acid and harmful drugs. Is it the fear of violence against themselves? Are there potential links to mental health and social and economic deprivation of their communities? Or is it due to being members of already marginalised and isolated communities?

Clients we represent at Hudgell Solicitors often complain of the hostile circumstances in which police carry out a stop and search; often with no recognition, understanding or appreciation of its impact on the individual being publicly stopped and searched, especially if this happens in the area they live. Additionally, more often than not, the search ends with no apologies forthcoming when nothing is found.

Arguably, if stop and search operations were conducted in a more respectful manner, communities would feel less marginalised and would understand that the police were simply doing their job.

The Home Secretary has pointed to the stop-to-arrest rate being at an all-time high, having doubled in London since 2009-2010, saying this shows that ‘police are targeting the right suspects better than ever before’. Commissioner Dick also said that ‘about one in three stop and searches result in something being found’.

Given the recent increased threats to our safety and the number of harrowing incidents in the capital, few might argue with these figures.

We all agree that police officers need all power to their arm in the fight against knife crime and street violence, but these powers must always be used lawfully, courteously, be subject to proper scrutiny and without discrimination.

Transparency is needed across the stop and search complaints system so that when a search does go wrong, the public has confidence in the sanctions and remedies available.

People, and communities, will only have more confidence and trust in stop and search tactics if they can see positive results, and a means to hold the police to account should they need to.

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11/08/2017 No Comments

Hudgell Solicitors welcomes swift IPCC response in case of police search which ended with baby’s ashes spilled across floor

Memory teddy


Lawyers acting on behalf of a young mother who says police officers tore apart her ‘memory teddy bear’ containing the remains of her 10-month-old son have welcomed a swift investigation into the matter.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has today issued a statement in which it says officers in this incident, which happened in June, have already given their accounts of the events and that video footage from body cameras is also being studied.

The IPCC has said it is “looking at the actions of officers and whether there is any organisational learning arising.”

Ms Wright, 23, said she had been left “hysterical” on her hands and knees trying to recover the precious remains of her baby boy Nathan after officers from Staffordshire Police Force left her partner’s property.

She had been at his flat at the time, and despite officers having a warrant relating to a stolen laptop, Ms Wright says she and her partner were not suspected of committing any offence themselves, and that she informed officers before they carried out the search that the teddy contained her son’s ashes.

When officers left empty-handed, Ms Wright went into the bedroom and was “completely heartbroken” by what she found.

IPCC Operations Manager Steve Bimson said: “We have met with Ms Wright and her partner to explain our role and we will keep all parties regularly updated on our investigation.

“This is an emotive case and we are conscious of the distress and wider concern this has caused. We will be looking at the actions of officers and whether there is any organisational learning arising from this incident.”

Civil Liberties Lawyer Andrew Petherbridge is representing Ms Wright, and says the IPCC response has rightly been quick.

“Given the harrowing circumstances for our client, we welcome the swift IPCC response in this case,” he said.

“We feel there are many serious questions which need asking around the events of this search, and welcome the reviewing of video footage from body cameras worn at the time.

“Whatever happened during the search, there can be no doubt that finding her son’s ashes scattered on the bedroom floor afterwards must have been a horrifying experience for our client.  This should never have been the outcome given the search was in relation to a stolen laptop.”

Ms Wright and her boyfriend James have lived with the trauma of losing Nathan, aged 10 months, in April 2014. Despite being born prematurely at 34 weeks, he was a ‘happy and healthy’ boy until his sudden death.

Chelsea says she has carried the memory bear and Nathan’s ashes with her everywhere since, to feel close to him.

Of the police search, she said: “I’d been staying with James at his flat when the police arrived to search his property at about 7.45am. We had nothing to hide so of course, we let them in. James wasn’t even under any suspicion as it was all in relation to somebody else.

“I even mentioned the teddy bear to the police before they started searching, but the Velcro on the teddy bear’s back had been opened and the bag had been cut open. How on earth could they have expected to find a laptop inside a small plastic bag which was inside a teddy bear? It is absolutely disgusting.

“I can’t understand how the police can be so heartless and so inconsiderate. As soon as I went into the bedroom and saw the mess I knew it was Nathan’s ashes spread around the room.

“I was just in hysterics. I got onto my hands and knees and tried to salvage the ashes and brush them onto pieces of paper, but it was impossible. How on earth could they do this to a mum who has lost a baby boy?”

Related News 

The Mirror 

Guardian

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08/08/2017 No Comments

Appeal for information as legal action considered against West Midlands Police relating to paedophile officer who abused boys

Allan Richards | Paedophile Sentenced to 22 Years in Prison


A solicitor representing a victim of a paedophile police officer who abused his position to sexually exploit young boys says the trials which saw Allan Richards jailed for 22 years may have only ‘scratched the surface’ in terms of identifying victims.

The former West Midlands Police Sergeant, who was also a Scout master, was jailed last year after being found to have committed 40 offences against boys and young men in crimes dating back to the 1970s.

Seventeen boys had been victims of abuse or exploitation, with his offences including rape and indecent assaults.

Over two trials, Birmingham Crown Court heard how he had sexually abused boys at police stations, at scout camps, in swimming pools, in a park, at his home, and other locations.

‘Highly likely victims have still not come forward’

Cyrilia Davies Knight, civil liberties specialist at Hudgell Solicitors, believes it is ‘highly likely’ there were more victims than those who formed part of the criminal cases against Richards.

It comes as she is currently supporting one of his victims and is preparing a civil legal case against West Midlands Police on his behalf.

“We have serious concerns that there may still be many people out there who were victims of Richards and have still not come forward. That means they are still to receive any form of relevant and probably much needed support, and are still coping alone,” said Ms Davies Knight.

“It was only last year that officers from West Midlands Police contacted our client and told him some other victims had come forward. He has, quite understandably, been badly affected by what happened to him and it has had a huge impact on his life to this date, and will do for the foreseeable future.

“He was contacted as the police had put Richards’ details through the database to see which cases he had worked on. That is when our client’s name came up. This is far from a complete record of the young boys Richards came into contact with though over many years.

“The judge in court described him as someone who would have been a predator for the whole of his adult life, and therefore someone who would likely find a way to get to young victims in many ways, such as through his position as a scout leader.

“It is clear from supporting our client that Richards relied on his position as a police officer to frighten his victims and intimidate them into never speaking out. Our client would not have come forward. He simply didn’t feel he could.

“Many people would also perhaps feel unable to come forward and face the trauma of giving evidence in court as our client, and others, so bravely did.

“It is likely that the trials may have only have scratched the surface in terms of identifying the true number of victims.”

Police officer told abuse victim he’d ‘make his family disappear’

The victim represented by Ms Davies Knight had been introduced to Richards having already been the victim of a rape.

Rather than providing support in his role as a police sergeant, Richards abused him and threatened to ‘make his family disappear’ if he did not do as he said.

The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: “The abuse was something I had locked away inside for almost 20 years. I couldn’t talk about it and it was very difficult giving evidence for the trial.

“In many ways, when the police contacted me, I wasn’t shocked to find out there had been more victims, I probably expected it. I just didn’t expect him to be caught as I assumed people would have been the same as me. He was a police officer and I was afraid of him and afraid of saying what he had done.

“I am glad I gave evidence but others may have not felt able to come forward. It’s not easy to deal with and I don’t trust many people now. You lose trust, and again, that can stop you from speaking out.”

Police force investigated as opportunities to prevent abuse may have been missed

Richards was convicted last October of carrying out nine indecent assaults against six boys aged 11 to 15 at camps, swimming baths and other locations between 1982 and 2003.

He had already been found guilty earlier in the year of a further 31 sex offences against other boys, including two rapes, going back to the 1970s.

It was revealed he had avoided prosecution after being questioned when allegations first surfaced in 2000. He also avoided prosecution when allegations resurfaced in 2004.

At that time he had his Scout leader’s warrant removed by the Scout movement following allegations of sexual abuse against a boy at a camp.

He was only ‘removed from public contact’ by West Midlands Police however, and was then told he would not be prosecuted in January 2005.

He remained with the force until he retired in 2011, but a fresh investigation was launched in 2014 when another victim came forward, leading to his convictions.

The force referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) in May 2015 having admitted opportunities may have been missed to prevent Richards abusing other victims after the 2004 allegations came to light.

During a search of his home in Thaxted Road, Tile Cross, Birmingham, detectives found a list of 35 male names Richards had a ‘sexual interest’ in.  They also discovered diaries where Richards kept details of ‘touching’ boys as well as describing their underwear.

Ms Davies Knight added: “The trial and subsequent sentence handed out to Richards may have brought some form of closure for some of his victims, but it is certainly believed there may be more victims police have been unable to trace, and therefore more people who will have had no form of closure, and no support at all.”

In total, Richards was found guilty of two rapes, 20 indecent assaults, seven cases of sexual activity with a child, three instances of gross indecency, one count of inciting sexual activity with a child, one charge of a serious sexual assault, five counts of misconduct in public office, and one charge of voyeurism.

For more information on civil liberties and claims relating to police complaints, click here.

Related News:

Express & Star

Express & Star 

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24/07/2017 No Comments

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"Was an easy process and the caseworker was very informative and very knowledgeable on my… "

Rachel Fee

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Lovely business to deal with

"Lovely business to deal with. Would recommend to anyone."

Mrs Kelly Byrnes

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Great communication

"Great communication! My solicitor was lovely to deal with, open and listened to me."

Sue Ockendon

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Very happy with how they managed my…

"Very happy with how they managed my claim. I would recommend them."

Mr Steve Roberts

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Very helpful and truly understanding in…

"Very helpful and truly understanding in a very sensitive case would highly recommend to anyone"

Miss Sarah Morris

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Friendly

"Friendly, supportive and professional, couldn't ask for more."

Mr Adrian Fisher

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A first class service with a heart too

"I never had claimed before and was quite apprehensive about dealing with claims solicitors as… "

M Sheikh

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They made me feel that I wouldn’t be on…

"They made me feel that I wouldn’t be on my own after my experience. They… "

Mrs Melinda Diane Tovey

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The service was excellent and Lauren…

"The service was excellent and Lauren Cartwright kept me well informed and gave good advice… "

Mr Roger Harrison

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Recommended company

"Excellent service, fully recommended. Efficient communication and reliable."

Mr R Taylor

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Hudgell took over my road traffic case…

"Hudgell took over my road traffic case from a different solicitors and successfully negotiated a… "

Mr JSW

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Hudgell Solicitors made my personal…

"Hudgell Solicitors made my personal injury claim so easy, they got me the treatment i… "

Mr Nick Todd

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I have never used solicitors before

"I have never used solicitors before, my dealings with Hudgell have been excellent I have… "

David Varley

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Very helpful

"Very helpful"

Ethan Ferguson

Rated 9.4 out of 10 based on 456 reviews

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Our offices

London

55 Fleet Street
EC4Y 1JU

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Hull

No 2 @ The Dock
46 Humber Street
HU1 1TU

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Leeds

10 Park Place
Leeds
LS1 2RU

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Manchester

1 St Peter’s Square
Third Floor
Manchester
M2 3AE

 

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© 2018 Hudgell Solicitors®. All Rights Reserved.

Hudgell Solicitors is a trading name of Neil Hudgell Limited | Director Dr. Neil Hudgell MA LLB (Hons) LLD | Registered in England No. 7078429 | Authorised and Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority | SRA No. 521372 | VAT Registration No. 254 7802 90