Arlesey Blue Lagoon murder: Police accept probe was flawed

POLICE have “whole-heartedly” accepted the Independent Police Complaints Commission’s (IPCC) findings that three investigations concerning the welfare of a man prior to his murder were “flawed”.

The IPCC published a report last week into the police handling of incidents involving Michael Gilbert, who was murdered in January 2009 and had his body dismembered and dumped in the Blue Lagoon in Arlesey.

In April 2010, members of the Watt family, from Luton, were convicted of his murder.

In July 2010, Mr Gilbert’s mother contacted the IPCC and alleged police failed to investigate three incidents involving her son - an assault in Luton in 2002 and abductions in Cambridgeshire in 2007 and in Lancashire in 2008.

She believed her son’s murder could have been prevented if police had intervened.

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The IPCC investigation concluded that the police investigated each of the incidents, and therefore none of the allegations were substantiated, but that all three investigations were inadvertently hindered.

The 2002 assault investigation was hampered after it was given inaccurate information from other public services; the Cambridgeshire abduction investigation was not told that Michael confirmed to a Bedfordshire officer that he had been taken against his will, having previously denied it; while in Lancashire officers wrote down the wrong mobile phone number for Michael.

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IPCC commissioner, Rachel Cerfontyne, said: “We looked at specific allegations that the police did not investigate three incidents involving Michael and the Watt family.

“We have found that on each occasion investigations had taken place but were flawed due to misinformation, failures in communication and human error.”

Bedfordshire Police’s assistant chief constable, Andrew Richer, said: “We acknowledge and accept whole-heartedly the findings of the review.

“The development of the Police National Database will mean the sharing of information between forces about people potentially at risk will be much quicker and easier.”

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