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Sean Rigg Custody Death: PC Suspended

Friday 30th May 2014

The Met Police has suspended a police officer who was involved in the arrest of a man who died in custody in south London.

It comes after pressure from the police watchdog on Scotland Yard, who accepted the officer's resignation ahead of a new review of the case.

The family of Sean Rigg, who died in police custody in south London, said they were "livid" upon finding out PC Andrew Birks had been allowed to resign.

Sean Rigg

Mr Rigg, who had a 20-year record of mental illness, died after he was kept in the caged footwell of a police van handcuffed, face down with his legs bent sufficiently far back for his heels to touch his buttocks.

A coroner found that he died as a result of cardiac arrest, acute arrhythmia, ischemia and partial asphysixia.

After an independent review criticised the original IPCC investigation the watchdog decided to re-open the disciplinary and criminal investigations into Seanís death.

In April this year, PC Birks and the other officers involved signed a consent order agreeing to an IPCC disciplinary re-investigation and earlier this month the High Court gave the go ahead for it to begin.

However it was reported that the resignation of PC Birks was tendered and accepted before the IPCC were able to serve him with notices under the misconduct regulations.

The Met police has now confirmed it has 'reconsidered his resignation request and the Deputy Commissioner has decided to rescind his resignation. PC Birks has been suspended.'

A statement from the force reads:

"What is important now is that there is a full and thorough investigation. There has been much speculation and debate about the actions of all the officers involved in this case, only through this new investigation can the actual facts of what took place be established based on evidence.

"The officer has given assurances, via his legal representative, that he would fully cooperate with any new investigation by the IPCC."