Update on investigation into Metropolitan Police response to Barking deaths
Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigators examining the police response to the deaths of four men in east London have urged witnesses to come forward following Stephen Port’s convictions.
Port was convicted of four counts of murder and plus a number of other offences following his trial at the Central Criminal Court in London. He will be sentenced on Friday 25 November.
The IPCC is investigating the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) response following the deaths of Anthony Walgate, 23, Gabriel Kovari, 22, Daniel Whitworth, 21, and Jack Taylor, 25.
The bodies of all four men were found in the Barking area on separate dates between June 2014 and September 2015. The MPS made a voluntary referral to the IPCC in October last year after it identified concerns regarding the initial investigations into the men’s deaths.
Seven MPS officers have been served with gross misconduct notices advising them their conduct is under investigation. A further ten officers have been served with misconduct notices. The officers range in rank from constable to inspector.
The notices are related to how officers responded to the four deaths before the homicide investigation was launched, including the nature of the investigative work undertaken, how evidence was examined and how similarities between the cases were considered. Misconduct notices are not judgemental in any way.
IPCC Commissioner Cindy Butts said:
“Today our thoughts are with everybody affected by the tragic deaths of Anthony, Gabriel, Daniel and Jack at the hands of Stephen Port.
“It is important we establish whether the police response to the deaths of all four men was thorough and appropriate in the circumstances, including whether discrimination played any part in actions and decisions. As his trial established, Port was known to the police in connection to the death of Mr Walgate. We now know that tragically, three more young men went on to lose their lives.
“I have met with LGBT community members in Barking and Dagenham to explain the IPCC’s role, and would like to provide the assurance that our investigators are continuing to work hard to scrutinise the police response to the tragic deaths of these four young men.
“We would like to hear from anybody who provided information to the police about Port, or any of his victims, between 19 June 2014 and 15 October 2015.”
Anyone with information should contact the IPCC on 0800 151 0021 or email barking&[email protected].