Statement following panel decision to dismiss Thomas Orchard misconduct case against officers

Published: 12 Jul 2019

IOPC Regional Director Sarah Green said: “We will carefully consider the panel’s decision issued today.

“We are extremely mindful of the impact this case has had on both the Orchard family and the officers involved. This has been a complex investigation in two parts, looking at both the actions and decisions of individual officers, and at Devon and Cornwall Police as a corporate body. The evidence we gathered has informed two lengthy trials one year apart and led to a landmark conviction following the guilty plea of the Office of the Chief Constable for health and safety breaches.

“It is a priority for the IOPC to improve investigation timeliness, as well as to work with other parts of the police complaints system to bring matters to a conclusion faster. We now complete around three quarters of our investigations within 12 months, and a third within six months.

“The IOPC has also been working closely with members of the Ministerial Board on Deaths in Custody to progress work following the Angiolini review [1] including improving the timeliness of the overall processes for all organisations involved in a death in custody, support for families, and healthcare in police custody.

“We have also consistently said that police custody is not an appropriate place of safety for those detained under S136 of the Mental Health Act. The Government recently announced it would introduce legislation to ban the use of police cells as a place to detain people experiencing mental illness, which we welcome.”


  • Devon and Cornwall Police
  • Custody and detention
  • Death and serious injury