COUNTY NEWS: Police officers to face misconduct hearings over death of Sussex man

Three police officers are to face misconduct hearings over the death of a Sussex man, the police complaints watchdog has said.

The scene of the police incident. Picture: Steve Robards
The scene of the police incident. Picture: Steve Robards

Duncan Tomlin, 32, from Burgess Hill, died after being arrested at an address in Ryecroft, Haywards Heath, in July 2014.

An investigation was originally opened by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), who served a police sergeant and four police constables with gross misconduct notices.

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In the IPCC’s initial report it said Mr Tomlin, formerly of Woodstock, Oxfordshire, was placed in the back of the police van where he became unresponsive. He was removed from the van in South Road, Haywards Heath, and was not breathing.

CPR was performed before he was transferred by ambulance to a nearby hospital. He died two days later, the IPCC report said.

The IPCC has since been replaced by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

A spokesman for the IOPC said: “One sergeant and two constables have a case to answer for gross misconduct over their use of force in restraining Mr Tomlin and will now attend a misconduct hearing.

“Another constable has a case to answer for misconduct over his use of force and will attend a misconduct meeting. A further police constable resigned earlier this year and is therefore unable to face any further action.

“At the conclusion of the investigation a file was referred to the Crown Prosecution Service due to an indication that criminal offences may have been committed. The CPS decided to take no further action and this decision was upheld earlier this month after Mr Tomlin’s family exercised their victims’ right to review.”

IOPC regional director Sarah Green added: “This is a tragic case involving the death of a young man and my thoughts remain with Duncan’s family and friends. While the CPS decided not to take action, our investigation has found these officers may have breached their standards of professional behaviour and they will now attending the appropriate proceedings. We continue to keep Mr Tomlin’s family informed of developments and have supplied our investigation to the coroner in preparation for the inquest into Duncan’s death.”