Beds Police and Crime Commissioner Olly Martins has been suspended by the Labour party after the IPCC referred its investigation into his disclosure of ‘confidential information’ to the CPS, which has opened up the prospect of criminal charges.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission launched an investigation into Mr Martins in February, after he discussed internal details of Leon Briggs’ death with his partner.
Mr Briggs, of Ashburnham Road, Luton, died in November after being detained by officers under section 136 of the Mental Health Act and taken to Luton Police Station.
The IPCC has now concluded its investigation and has passed its report to the Crown Prosecution Service, which will now determine whether there is evidence to warrant criminal charges.
Subsequently the national Labour office wrote to Mr Martins, informing him that he has been placed on administrative suspension.
A Labour Party spokesperson told Luton News: “Olly Martins has been suspended from the Labour Party.”
The suspension means that the PCC cannot attend party meetings, activities or take part in Labour votes.
In a statement Mr Martins revealed his surprise at the IPCC referral.
He said: “I have co-operated fully with the IPCC investigation and provided a full and detailed account of my actions.
“Even though the threshold for the IPCC referring their investigation to the CPS is a low one I am surprised the IPCC considered this case reaches that threshold.
“I am confident the CPS will make the right decision.”
Beds Police first reported the matter to the IPCC on December 1, after they were informed of it by a member of the public.
The force was advised by the IPCC that it should send details of the complaint to Bedfordshire’s police and crime panel, as required by the rules governing complaints against PCCs.
Mr Martins was reprimanded for the leak in January, when the panel issued a written warning.
At the time the PCC told the body in a statement: “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.”
During a webchat on Bedfordshire Police’s Facebook page in April Mr Martins further elaborated on the circumstances behind the disclosure.
He said: “One night over dinner I discussed with my partner sensitive information relating to the tragic death of Leon Briggs.
“I acknowledge that in doing something perfectly normal, sharing the challenges of my day with my partner, I crossed a line by discussing information I should not have done.”
As part of the IPCC investigation, overseen by the watchdog’s commissioner James Dipple-Johnstone, Mr Martins was interviewed under caution.
A seperate IPCC probe into the death of Leon Briggs continues.
Five police officers and two detention officers remain under investigation for potential offences of gross negligence/unlawful act manslaughter, misconduct in public office, and/or offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
The next pre-inquest hearing into Mr Briggs’ death is scheduled to take place on October 7 in Hatfield.