IOPC investigation into fatal police shooting in Carlisle concludes

Published: 21 Mar 2024

An Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation into the fatal police shooting of a man in Carlisle has found that officers acted in accordance with their training. 

Shortly after 3.30pm on Monday 19 December 2022, Cumbria Constabulary firearms officers were called to a property on Borland Avenue, in the Botcherby area, where it was reported a man was making threats to kill, and young children were present. 

Once inside, the officers identified an imminent threat to a child and two armed officers discharged their weapons. Sergii Kuzmenko, 40, suffered injuries to his head and chest and was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Our investigation established that seven shots were fired by two officers. Both told investigators they were acting under the belief there was an imminent threat to the child’s life.

At no stage in our investigation was there any indication that any of the officers involved may have breached police professional standards or committed a criminal offence. They all provided statements as witnesses, which greatly assisted us in establishing the course of events. 

On conclusion of the investigation, in November 2023, our findings were shared with Cumbria Constabulary and the Coroner.

We looked at whether the force used by officers, including the discharge of a firearm, was in line with all relevant training and guidance. 

Over the course of the investigation, the IOPC gathered a large volume of evidence including obtaining accounts from 11 Cumbria Constabulary officers, reviewing body-worn video showing what happened while outside and inside the property, and a training expert in armed policing provided a report on whether the officers’ actions were in line with policy and training.

IOPC Regional Director Catherine Bates said: “I would like to offer my sympathies to the family and friends of Mr Kuzmenko and everyone affected by this incident. It will have undoubtedly been a tremendously difficult time and we appreciate their patience and understanding while we have carried out this very thorough investigation.

“I would also like to thank the officers and staff involved for their cooperation with our investigation, during what must also have been a very difficult time for them.

“The evidence we gathered shows the officers acted to protect a child whose life they believed was in very real and immediate danger. 

“The officers acted swiftly to gain entry to the room to prevent any injury to the child. We found the decision to shoot Mr Kuzmenko was in line with all relevant training and guidance in those circumstances.

“While police shootings are, thankfully, rare it is understandable that people will be concerned when it does happen and therefore it is important a detailed and robust investigation is conducted to fully understand the circumstances that led up to it.”

  • Cumbria Constabulary