The Independent Office for Police Conduct has confirmed it should reinvestigate the Metropolitan Police‘s handling of the deaths of Stephen Port‘s victims following the 2021 inquests into their deaths.
Port murdered 4 younger males throughout a 16-month interval between 2014 and 2015, luring them to his one-bed flat in Barking earlier than fatally plying them with date-rape drug GHB after which dumping their our bodies close by.
He was initially arrested days after he killed his first sufferer, however was not charged with homicide till after he struck for a fourth time.
The watchdog beforehand investigated the Met’s probe after the drive made a voluntary referral in 2015, and the findings had been then shared with the households of the victims and a coroner in 2018.
New inquests into the deaths of Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth and Jack Taylor concluded in 2021 and located that “investigative failures” by the Met “probably contributed” to the deaths of three of the lads.
The inquests additionally revealed new proof beforehand unknown to the IOPC from officers who had been topic to the sooner probe.
IOPC regional director Graham Beesley mentioned: “In our original investigation, we examined the actions of 17 officers. All but one gave no-comment interviews under misconduct caution and chose to provide written responses to the investigators.
“Following analysis of the new information provided at the inquest, we have concluded that the original investigation needed to be wider in scope and, therefore, certain lines of inquiries were not followed. Had this information been known at the time it may have led to different decisions on outcomes.”
Acting Deputy Commissioner Helen Ball mentioned: “The deaths of these four young men is a tragedy and we are deeply sorry there were failings in our police response. Again, I give my own and the Met’s heartfelt apologies.
“The whole of the Met is committed to improving our investigations, our relationships and the trust people have in us to keep them safe.
“Since the deaths of Anthony, Gabriel, Daniel and Jack we have worked hard to ensure the service we provide is better while understanding we have more to do. Learning and recommendations from the Independent Office for Police Conduct, Her Majesty’s Coroner and our LGBT+ Independent Advisory Group of community members have enabled us to make a range of improvements.
“Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services are with us now carrying out an inspection into how we respond to and investigate death. We look forward to their findings and any recommendations they may have.”
Solicitor Neil Hudgell, talking on behalf of the victims’ households, mentioned the choice was “the only logical decision open to the IOPC following the weight of evidence heard at the inquests”.
He added: “There remains a big question mark over whether police prejudice played a part in the investigations.
“The inadequate investigations by the Metropolitan Police into the four deaths is one of the most widespread institutional failures in modern history, exacerbated by a woeful lack of remorse, regret or sympathy displayed at the inquests by some of the officers involved.
“Port was jailed for life, but the police have blood on their hands too. It is time for them to be held accountable.”