The Met slammed over NINE failures after homeless man dies at Forest Gate police station
PUBLISHED: 09:26 13 March 2017 | UPDATED: 09:26 13 March 2017
An inquest into the death of a homeless man taken into custody and later found dead on the floor of his cell has criticised police for making a catalogue of failures.
Met Police response
A Met spokesman vowed the service would take time to consider the comments of the jury and a forthcoming coroner’s report.
He also noted that after the death, the matter was referred to the independent police complaints commission triggering an independent investigation.
In its subsequent report in September 2011 the IPCC recommended two sergeants, based at Newham police, face gross misconduct hearings and two inspectors, also based at Newham, attend misconduct meetings. All matters were subsequently not proven.
The IPCC report suggested the Met improved handovers between custody teams.
In 2014 further concerns were raised around the first aid response when CCTV footage was reviewed during preparations for Mr Jasiunas’s inquest which sparked a second investigation in May 2014.
The subsequent report in November 2015 recommended a designated detention officer, based at Newham Police, face a gross misconduct hearing and he received a written warning.
A Pc was also dealt with under unsatisfactory performance procedures and custody nurse, who no longer works for the police, was referred to the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
Two recommendations were made - the first that medical equipment should be accessed by a wider range of officers and police staff which the Met told the IPCC was not practical due to officers and staff requiring clinical training to use the equipment.
The second recommendation was for the Met to review first aid and emergency life-saving procedures including training on resuscitation technique which is currently already done on a regular basis.
Forest Gate police arrested and detained Valdas Jasiunas on September 1, 2010, for begging after previously giving him a caution for the same offence.
During his detention, staff entered the 36-year-old’s cell several times before finding the former teacher unresponsive the next morning following a seizure.
Although attempts were made to resuscitate him, he was pronounced dead at 8.15pm at Newham University Hospital.
Coroner Nadia Persaud confirmed chronic alcoholic liver disease, acute hypoxia following seizures and a history of traumatic brain injury as the medical cause of death.
The jury concluded Mr Jasiunas, who was unemployed at the time of his death, was an alcohol dependent vagrant with serious underlying health problems who was taken to hospital following a seizure.
Their criticisms included a failure on th epolice’s part to enter previous health scares involving Mr Jasiunas on police records, a failure to re-visit his risk assessment during the course of his detention and a failure by the police doctor to record the Lithuanian’s refusal to be examined.
The court also criticised the police doctor for failing to record correctly medication apparently prescribed to Mr Jasiunas as well as slamming the police for not reactivating an alarm in his cell.
In addition, police failed to carry out full checks to rouse Mr Jasiunas, record all visits to his cell and follow guidelines during an inspector’s review on the morning of September 2 at 2.58am.
A failure to administer CPR properly was also noted by the court.
However despite the failures, the inquest jury found no evidence any directly caused or contributed to the former teacher’s death.
Commenting, acting Newham borough commander Ian Larnder said: “The death of anyone while in police custody is a matter of regret for the Metropolitan Police Service and our thoughts naturally remain with Mr Jasiuna’s friends and family at this difficult and sad time.
“We accept that the level of service provided to Mr Jasiuna was not as it should have been. Mistakes were made and measures that were taken to help Mr Jasiuna were not correctly recorded on the custody record as they should have been.
“We referred the matter to the IPCC to independently investigate and welcome the scrutiny of our actions so we can take any learning forward and make improvements for the future.”