Five police officers under criminal investigation following death in police custody

Published: 24 Feb 2021

Five officers have been advised they are under criminal investigation following the death in police custody of a 24-year-old man in Milton Keynes earlier this month.

Brian Ringrose from Milton Keynes died in hospital after he was arrested by Thames Valley Police (TVP) officers at an address on the morning of Wednesday 27 January. The officers had medical concerns for Mr Ringrose and requested an ambulance, which took him to Milton Keynes University Hospital.

Evidence gathered so far indicates that after being medically discharged from hospital, officers restrained Mr Ringrose in the hospital before taking him to a police van in order to transport him to police custody. While being taken to the van concerns were raised regarding Mr Ringrose’ health and he was returned to the hospital where he was placed in an induced coma. Mr Ringrose sadly died in hospital on Tuesday 2 February 2021.

A post-mortem has been conducted and the cause of death was given as inconclusive pending further investigation.

One of the areas our investigation is looking at is the use of a piece of equipment – a Flexible Lift and Carry System (FLACS)- used by officers to assist with carrying Mr Ringrose to the police van after his initial restraint with handcuffs and limb restraints. The force has suspended its use as a precautionary measure while our investigation progresses, and we are exploring with the National Police Chiefs Council with regards to its use by other forces.

From the evidence gathered so far, five officers have been advised they are under investigation for alleged gross negligence manslaughter and unlawful act manslaughter. One of the officers is also being investigated for alleged common assault. The officers have also been served with gross misconduct notices for potential breaches of professional behaviour related to use of force and duties and responsibilities.

The decision to inform officers they are under criminal investigation means evidence indicates a criminal offence may have been committed. This does not necessarily mean criminal charges will follow. Likewise, the serving of misconduct notices does not mean disciplinary proceedings will necessarily follow. A decision on whether or not to refer the matter to the Crown Prosecution Service will only be made once our investigation is complete.

IOPC Regional Director for the South East Graham Beesley said:

“Our thoughts are with Mr Ringrose’s family and all of those affected by his tragic death. This is a significant development in our investigation and is based on evidence we have gathered to date. We have updated Mr Ringrose’s family and will now seek to interview the officers under criminal caution.

“It is our role to independently investigate all of the circumstances when someone dies in police custody.”

  • Thames Valley Police
  • Custody and detention
  • Death and serious injury