by: Mikey Powell Campaign
published: 31 October 2013
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) have upheld an appeal by Claris Powell, the mother of Mikey Powell, that the West Midlands Police Chief Constable’s report to the West Midlands Police Authority (WMPA) on 25 March 2010 entitled “The Organisational Response to the Death of Michael Powell and Linda Burt” was misleading.
The Powell family maintained that the report was misleading about the findings of the 2009 Inquest jury ruling in relation to when and where Mikey died.
In December 2010 the Powell family solicitors made a series of complaints on behalf of Mikey Powell’s mother, Claris Powell. These centered on the report given by the Chief Constable Chris Sims and Assistant Chief Constable Gordon Scobbie to the WMPA. In June 2011 the IPCC directed the Police Authority to record the complaint and investigate it.
This complaint was eventually investigated by an officer from Gloucestershire Police reporting to the Police Authority, which later became West Midlands Office for Policing and Crime (WMOPC).
In January 2013 the legal advisor to the WMOPC wrote to the family stating that “the committee have accepted the conclusion in the report but were extremely concerned and disappointed that the report to the police authority in March 2010 was factually incorrect. The committee decided that no further action should be taken however further investigation proposed that no further action should be taken in relation to the complaint”
Claris Powell lodged a further appeal on 20 February 2013.
The IPCC decision upholding the appeal and giving their reasons was issued on 26th September 2013, and the Powell family are now in a position to share the ruling.
Jane Deighton, the familys legal representative stated:
“In relation to the first complaint the West Midlands Police must record the fact that it has been upheld. What this means in practice is that they record that the complaint that their report of 25 March 2010 was factually inaccurate as it omitted the jury’s finding that Mikey died in the police van.
“This shouldn’t be just something technical. When a complaint is upheld the West Midlands Office for Policing and Crime have to demonstrate that the outcome has been fed back in to improve police practice ie that they have done something about it.”
Amongst others, the IPCC will now require Gloucestershire Police to re-investigate a number of other complaints. Several officers who were present at the inquest in 2009 will be questioned about the inaccuracies in the report provided by the Chief Constable and Assistant Chief Constable, and whether there is any evidence that the report was deliberately misleading.
Once those investigations are complete the IPCC require the West Midlands Office for Policing and Crime to consider what action to take as a result of this complaint having being upheld.
Jane Deighton also commented; “The IPCC also accept that some of the matters [raised by the Powell family] as a result of disclosure by the Gloucestershire Police may merit a further complaint.”
Tippa Naphtali, Mikey Powell’s Cousin, said;
“On behalf of the whole family I am pleased that the IPCC has taken what is in my view the only right and proper decision in this matter. As if it were not enough that we were dragged through a lengthy Court case and a subsequent Inquest, West Midlands Police saw fit to subject us to yet another lengthy process.
“As I have said previously; for us it felt like another injustice against Mikey, and we were unwilling to allow that to happen.
“It is fitting on the recent marking of the 10th anniversary of Mikey’s death that we have again demonstrated our resolve to fight back against any decisions that we and our legal representatives see as further injustices against our beloved Mikey.”