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17 June 2014

The family of Denby Collins, who has been in a coma since 15 December 2013, have today
threatened legal action against the Chief Constable of Kent Police if he refuses to stop the
resignation of an officer who is under an IPCC investigation, announced as recently as 5 June
2014, see here:




On the afternoon of Friday, 13 June 2014, the IPCC notified the solicitors for the Collins family
that an officer who apparently handcuffed Denby Collins has tendered her resignation, which is
due to take effect on 20 June 2014. In a letter before claim served on the Chief Constable today,
the family have argued that he has acted unlawfully in failing to suspend the officer and then
refusing to accept that officers resignation.

This is not an isolated case and there have been many instances where police have avoided
disciplinary proceedings by resigning or retiring. In a speech to the Police Federation last
month, Home Secretary Theresa May restated the governments intention to end this practice
however despite first announcing this in February 2013 the situation remains unchanged.

Peter Collins, Denby Collins father said:

I and my family are very worried that we will never learn the truth of what the police
did on 15 December 2013 if one of the arresting officers involved on that night resigns
on Friday. There is no doubt in our minds that this resignation, if it goes ahead, will
blight the IPCC investigation and the officer will certainly avoid any disciplinary action,
should that be recommended by the IPCC when the investigation is completed.

We are deeply concerned that the Chief Constable, Alan Pughsley, has accepted this
officers resignation. This is an insult to the family because the officer must have known
about the independent IPCC investigation, as this was a decision made in early May
2010. Even if the resignation is not connected to the IPCC decision to investigate
matters, we are disappointed that the IPCC has not stepped in to ensure justice is done
by themselves advising Kent Police to suspend this officer and blocked the resignation,
at least until the IPCC has completed its investigation Such resignations destroy public
confidence in the police complaints system. We feel let down.

We may have no option but to bring a judicial review this week to try to get this
resignation reversed, pending the outcome of the investigation and any disciplinary

Daniel Machover, solicitor at Hickman and Rose, acting for Denby Collins, instructed by Peter
Collins, said:

This flaw in the system must be addressed as a matter of urgency. Police officers
should not be able to evade investigation and potential disciplinary action and frustrate
the justice process.


Notes to editors:

1. The letter before claim was sent to Alan Pughsley on 17 June. Details of the challenge include:

That his decision is contrary to Articles 2 and/or 3 of the European Convention on Human
By accepting the resignation, the Chief Constable has prematurely concluded any IPCC
investigation and possible misconduct recommendations relating to this officer;
The Chief Constables actions risk being seen as collusion in or tolerance of misconduct by a
police officer;
The Chief Constable has failed to give adequate consideration to the impact on public
confidence of permitting a police officer to avoid independent IPCC investigation and
potential disciplinary action through early resignation;
The importance of a disciplinary investigation in vindicating the Article 2 and/or 3 rights of
the family of Denby Collins.

The Chief Constable has not yet provided the family with any reasons for the decision to accept
the officers resignation.

The Chief Constable has been asked to suspend the officer with immediate effect and then
withdraw his acceptance of the officers resignation, pending the IPCC investigation and final
decisions determining the outcome of that investigation and, if appropriate, any
recommendations for disciplinary action by the IPCC.

2. On 5 June, the family of Denby Collins welcomed the IPCC decision to carry out an
independent investigation into Kent Police conduct at an address in Lower Rainham Road
Gillingham on the night of 14/15 December 2013, where the police were responding to a 999
call. Peter Collins, the father of Denby Collins, said on 5 June We expect the IPCC to carry out a
careful and robust investigation into all aspects of police conduct on that night. #

3. The family of Mr Collins were disappointed that the IPCC had refused to independently
examine the complaints about the conduct of Operation Zion, the Kent Police investigation
into what happened in Lower Rainham Road on 14/15 December. The police appear to have
conducted a wholly inadequate investigation into what seems to have been a very serious
assault inflicted on Denby Collins, which has left him in a coma 6 months after the event.

For more background please see these news reports from February 2014:



For comments, please contact

Daniel Machover, Partner, Mobile: 07773 341096

Hickman & Rose solicitors Website: http://www.hickmanandrose.co.uk

Hickman & Rose is a niche city firm with a criminal defence team and civil department. The civil team is renowned
for its work in seeking public and private law remedies in the UK and other jurisdictions on behalf of victims of
crime and other victims of the abuse of power by state agents within the criminal justice system. The combined
resources and joint working of the civil and criminal defence teams position the firm uniquely to fight for justice on
behalf of their clients in all arenas.