Police asked to speak to man who had died 12 years previously

Published Date: 18.11.2013

The Police Ombudsman has upheld a complaint that a householder was left distressed after police called at her door and asked to speak to her son, who had died 12 years previously.

The Police Ombudsman’s investigation found that officers called at the property while following up on information they had received about a crime.

Enquiries by Police Ombudsman investigators showed that officers had checked the deceased’s records on the police database, but did not see a note that he had passed away.

Record had not been properly transferred to new police system.

The entry had been made on an old police computer system, and while the information had been transferred across to a new database, the record on the new system had not been properly completed so as to highlight that the man was deceased.

It was also established that that if checks had been carried out appropriately, police would have realised that there was nothing linking the deceased to another suspect in the case.

The Police Ombudsman concluded that police had failed to conduct sufficient checks before calling at the property, but made no recommendation for disciplinary action as the officer responsible had since left the police service.

The Police Ombudsman investigator was also able to allay the family’s fears that someone had made a malicious report about the deceased. He was able to inform the family that the information provided to police had no connection to their relative, and also that two suspects, unrelated in any, had been arrested as part of the police investigation.

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