Beds PCC gets written warning

PCC Olly Martins with Chief Constable Colette Paul outside Bedfordshire Police HQ Kempston
PCC Olly Martins with Chief Constable Colette Paul outside Bedfordshire Police HQ Kempston

The Beds Police and Crime Commissioner has received a written warning for passing on confidential information about the death of a man in police custody.

Olly Martins faced the Beds and Police Crime Panel to answer questions about his actions yesterday.

PCC Olly Martins

PCC Olly Martins

Information he disclosed related to the death of Leon Briggs, 39, who died in November last year after being taken to Luton Police Station.

Friends of Mr Briggs said Mr Martins’ actions were “extremely reckless and unprofessional”.

After the meeting 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 PCC 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.”

Mr Martins, a Labour PCC, said every effort was made to prevent further repetition of the comments and as soon as Beds Police was told information had been “inappropriately released” the force informed the IPCC.

The IPCC advised the matter should be referred to the Police and Crime Panel, who scrutinised the case and questioned Mr Martins.

Mr Martins said he “absolutely accepts” the written reprimand.

He said: “The very last thing that I wish to see is a frenzy of speculation surrounding my actions overshadowing the really important issue, namely how and why Leon Briggs died whilst in police custody. I remain totally committed to ensuring that we all learn the truth and any necessary lessons learned.”

A spokesperson for the Justice 4 Leon group said: “We find it extremely reckless and unprofessional of Mr Martin to disclose confidential information about Leon Briggs Case to a third party, especially as the case is still ongoing.

“We hope that what was disclosed does not in any way prejudice the outcome of IPCC findings.

“In the first public meeting the family and community were promised both openness and transparency and find this to be to the contrary, due to the fact the Commission’s meeting was held in private.

“This does not install faith and trust within the community, something the authorities are requesting from us. Actions speak louder than words,and so far there is little evidence of this.”

Mr Martins was elected as the first Beds PCC in November 2012 and earns a salary of around £70,000 for the role.