Brothers: Gary & Graeme Reynolds
Having been awarded £3.8 million by Sussex Police as settlement for being left paralysed and wheelchair bound for the rest of his life, Gary Reynolds calls on the Home Secretary, Theresa May, to set up a fully independent public inquiry into his case.
Whilst Sussex Police handed over £3.8 million from their over-all £252.8 million budget, it is prudent to point out that Sussex Police admits no liability and are exempt from any blame being apportioned in relation to the injuries Gary Reynold received while in their custody.
Andrew Warnock QC, for Sussex Police, stressed that the force had agreed to the settlement without any admission of fault, for ‘economic’ reasons.
Gary suffered from a permanent brain injury after being found in a coma in his cell in Brighton police station on 2nd March 2008. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) were unable to investigate the Reliance private security staff who were responsible for Gary's care through-out his arrest and detention.
Mike Franklin IPCC Commissioner
The IPCC found a failure “to provide Gary Reynolds with an adequate level of care”, which “contributed to Gary Reynolds remaining in a coma longer than he should”. The IPCC also found there was a collective failure to carry out a range of highly significant duties required by the Police and Criminal Evidence Act for the care of detainees.
Gary Reynolds is outraged that the main custody sergeant who was responsible for his care whilst he was at the police station cannot face disciplinary action as he retired from uniformed police work in June 2008, despite being rehired to work as a civilian for the police! This appears to be a serious failing in the police discipline system, alongside the fact that Reliance staff criticised in the IPCC report are now trainee police officers.
No criminal charges and no one at risk of losing their job.
Three employees of Sussex police who were responsible for Gary’s care on 2 March 2008 have been strongly recommended by the IPCC for disciplinary action, but have simply received ‘advice’.
Gary said, “I think it's disgusting that no-one is being charged. I think they should all lose their jobs. I feel so angry at the IPCC; they've let them get away with it, the people who left me for dead in a police cell. It's disgusting. I hope it never happens to anyone else. I hate to think it could. I hope justice is done. ”
Matthew Taylor said “I am fully aware that corruption exists within the Sussex police force but that the people of Sussex would no longer tolerate it.
Police corruption can take many forms.
- Corruption of authority.
- Opportunistic theft.
- Protection of illegal activities.
- The Fix.
- Direct criminal activities.
- Internal payoffs.
- The IPCC should be given the authority to investigate complaints made against people who may not be police officers but may have interfered in a police investigation.(This would mean that the Reliance staff instrumental in paralysing Gary Reynolds would be brought to account.)
- Their second proposal would be to appoint permanent investigators who would have the relevant qualifications and training.(The status quo of getting the police to investigate the police is open to corruption and abuse.)
- The third was to enhance the overall technical infrastructure in order to enable the committee to conduct investigations without depending on the police.(Investigators from other disciplines or police investigators from other countries must be considered as credible independent investigators.)
Matthew Taylor said “As much as the IPCC is tasked with bringing the police to account, they mustn't be hindered from shielding the police against any malicious, false or inaccurate claims. The IPCC must be a bearer of truth and justice, on behalf of the police and the public.”
IPCC failings have resulted in a deeply flawed report.
Gary Reynolds is very disappointed that the CPS has advised the IPCC that there is insufficient evidence to justify criminal proceedings against any of the Sussex police officers or the staff employed by Reliance, including health and safety offences.
Many of the facts of his case are already widely known because of the judicial review his brother, Graeme, had to bring against the IPCC while Gary was lying in a coma.
It was only after the judicial review that the IPCC carried out an inquiry into all of the events of 2nd March 2008, going back to midnight, even though it was obvious from the very beginning of the inquiry that the IPCC needed to determine completely independently of Sussex police what happened to Gary Reynolds in the three hours before he was detained by the police, given that the police would have an obvious interest in throwing doubt on when he received his head injury.
But the judicial review has nothing to do with the gravest error made by the IPCC in this case. The IPCC allowed Sussex Police full access to interview the taxi driver who was the last civilian to have contact with Gary Reynolds before the police detained him in West Street, Brighton, shortly after 2.30am on 2nd March 2008. The taxi driver was a witness to the police conduct in West Street and saw and heard Gary Reynolds being brought to the ground by the police and one member of the public, where Gary believes he received the serious head injury that has ended up ruining his life.
Home Office ignorance & IPCC findings raise issues of significant public interest.
Shockingly, police supervision of Reliance staff does not bring Reliance staff under police discipline and of the IPCC findings of systemic failures of the custody staff, employed by both the police and Reliance. Reliance staff are beyond the reach of a publicly accountable discipline system, despite carrying our core police functions of caring for detainees in police custody.
We want a public inquiry into Sussex Police now.
Only a public inquiry will turn a spotlight on this dark corner of privatisation of a public service: the public need to know if profit or care for detainees is paramount & whether the police contracts with these companies require them to meet the standards set down in PACE, ACPO guidance etc. and that there are penalties and termination clauses that protect the public from misconduct by private custody assistants.
The public are entitled to know what action Reliance have taken in response to the IPCC’s criticisms –and whether company directors are profiting from the poor service described in the report. Have any of the IPCC recommendations been implemented? Has a single Reliance employee been disciplined, lost their job or been sent on training?
Who are the Shadow Sussex Police and Crime Commissioners doing about it?
The Shadow Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner office was created in the wake of the Police and Crime Commissioner elections of 2012.
Adding an extra level of public scrutiny which elected PCC's otherwise don't get, we hold Katy Bourne to account on behalf of the Sussex electorate.
While the Federation of Police and Crime Commissioners welcomes PCC candidates on a national level, the Sussex office is made up of Matt Taylor and David Joe Neilson.