Two Police officers attached to Tower Hamlets look set to keep their jobs after they were found innocent of gross misconduct at a hearing today. Both officers admitted misconduct but denied gross misconduct.
Had the disciplinary panel found them guilty of gross misconduct they could have lost their jobs.
The officers, Gavin Bateman and Tony Stephenson bought hot drinks at a McDonald’s and then went to a roundabout to fill in paperwork from a previous job. They then attended the scene to find Fahima Begum, 22, unresponsive in her home in Poplar.
The London Ambulance Service had received a call from a concerned friend at 11.50pm on 15 April stating she had sent him a suicidal text and was now not answering the door.
The emergency call was graded as significant, meaning officers have a maximum of 60 minutes to attend the scene. Regulations state that officers are required to attend as soon as is possible.
The IPCC, the police watchdog said the PCs’ delay in attending her home in Poplar, east London, was “significant”.
An inquest held on 4 November, 2015 found that Miss Begum committed suicide and had died prior to the 999 call being placed. The IPCC said they found no cases to answer in relation to the call handlers.
The chair of the panel, Akbar Khan, accepted that while the officers’ actions had breached the standards accepted of them it did not warrant their dismissal.
Mr Khan said the panel accepted the argument made on behalf of the officers that they had not been properly trained on how to deal with with alerts from colleagues in the control centre.
Amy Clarke, on behalf of the Met Police, said the “lack of insight and appropriate decision-making” constituted gross misconduct and justified their dismissal.
She said: “The lack of urgency both of these officers showed fell woefully short of the standards expected of them.”
However Ben Summers, representing PC Stephenson, said the officer had not been properly trained and believed he had up to an hour to respond.
Guy Ladenburg, for PC Bateman, said his client was a “thoroughly diligent and committed officer who made an isolated lapse.”
The panel will announce tomorrow what sanctions the officers will face.