Bedfordshire PCC to face criminal investigation over information leak of police custody death

The IPCC has today (Thursday) launched a criminal investigation into PCC Olly Martins

The IPCC has today (Thursday) launched a criminal investigation into PCC Olly Martins - Credit: Archant

A criminal investigation has been launched after a police and crime commissioner (PCC) leaked confidential information about a man’s death in police custody.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) announced today (Thursday) that it is carrying out an investigation into Bedfordshire’s PCC Olly Martins after he shared sensitive information about the death of Leon Briggs.

Mr Briggs, 39, whose death is being investigated separately by the IPCC, died in police custody at Luton Police Station on November 4, 2013.

Mr Martins has already admitted and apologised for sharing information to a third party who in turn disclosed it to another.

He was reprimanded and issued a formal warning by the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Panel for his actions on January 14.

Afterwards the IPCC contacted the panel and decided to launch its own investigation, headed by IPCC commissioner James Dipple-Johnstone.

He said: “I am satisfied from the information we have at this time that the disclosure should be recorded as a conduct matter.

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“Not least because of the concern this matter will have caused to the Mr Brigg’s family and the local community means, there must be a fully independent investigation to determine the full circumstances of that disclosure.

“Our investigation will be independent, thorough, and I want to reassure the community it will not detract from our important work investigating what happened to Mr Briggs in police custody.”

In a statement released in January after his warning, Mr Martins said: “To my great regret I discussed, purely with a close associate, some information that had been provided to me in my role as police and crime commissioner regarding the death of Leon Briggs.

“Unfortunately, the person to whom I spoke did not appreciate the sensitivity of what had been said, nor indeed completely understand it, and went on to repeat a garbled interpretation of it to a third party.”