We are currently experiencing network problems with the desktop version of Police Oracle. We hope to have these resolved as soon as possible.

'Organisational learning' after IOPC investigation into death of Kent teen

The IOPC has concluded there was no evidence of misconduct after a suicidal teenager phoned the force and then took his own life but found pockets of practice that "required improvement".

An Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation into Kent Police contact with Matthew Mackell before he died found that officers and staff had acted appropriately and in accordance with force policies.

Matthew, who was 17-years-old, called the police on 6 May 2020 saying he intended to take his own life and asked the police to send someone to pick him up.

The call was abandoned before Matthew gave his location. He was found dead in Dunorlan Park, Tunbridge Wells the following day.

The IOPC’s investigation followed a mandatory referral from Kent Police about the contact staff had with Matthew and the force’s response to the call and concluded in December 2020.

An inquest into the teenager's death ended today (Wednesday, 19 May) in which a verdict of suicide was returned.

The IOPC said there was initially an indication one officer and five members of staff individually may have breached the police’s standards of professional behaviour.

But the investigation found no one had a case to answer for misconduct or should face unsatisfactory performance proceedings.

However, they have recommended a Practice Requiring Improvement process for an officer and two staff members.

The IOPC said there were also “potential areas of organisational learning identified by the investigation” that they will continue to discuss with the force with a view to potentially making either local or national recommendations around gradings of threat to life calls made to the police and the system they use to trace the location of callers.

Practice Requiring Improvement is when behavioiur does not amount to to misconduct or gross misconduct but still falls short of the expectations of the public and the police service as set out in the Code of Ethics.

IOPC Regional Director Graham Beesley said: "Our thoughts and sympathies remain with Matthew’s family and all those affected by this incident.

"After a full review we found that the actions of the officers involved did not amount to misconduct.

"We are working closely with Kent Police to identify learning that has come out of this case, improve practices and the approach taken to calls of this nature in the future."

Leave a Comment
View Comments 3
In Other News
Only 80 per cent of misconduct cases 'are resolved within a year'
IOPC to issue stop and search advice
IOPC refers Met officers to CPS over road death
Cheshire intelligence analyst charged after NCA inquiry
More News