Independent inquiry into Suffolk Constabulary’s conduct in Lowestoft winter death case
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Suffolk Constabulary is to be the subject of an independent investigation after a man allegedly froze to death on a doorstep in Lowestoft.
Concerns about the victim were first raised with police on the afternoon of December 27 but an ambulance did not arrive until almost 19 hours later, by which time he had died.
The man, aged in his 50s, was said to have been sat outside a property in Priors Close.
The case was brought to light by a senior whistleblower at the East of England Ambulance Service, who claims 20 people died over the Christmas and New Year period due to ambulance delays.
Suffolk Constabulary is now to be investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct over the death.
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A spokesman said: “We can confirm we were called to an incident where the body of a male in his 50s was discovered outside a property on Priors Close in Lowestoft on Thursday, December 28.
“A call was also made to police from a member of the public on Wednesday, December 27 when concern was raised for the man’s welfare.
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“Suffolk Constabulary can confirm it has made a mandatory referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct who will conduct an independent investigation.”
An IOPC spokesman said: “The matter was referred to us because previous concerns for the man’s welfare had been raised with Suffolk Police.
“Our investigation will examine the call handling and police response to these calls.”
A file is being prepared for the Suffolk coroner, with an inquest to be opened and adjourned at a later date.
NHS England, NHS Improvement and the Care Quality Commission are going to hold a ‘risk summit’ to look into the allegations made against the East of England Ambulance Service by the whistleblower.
Waveney MP Peter Aldous raised the Lowestoft case during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons on Wednesday.
Speaking to the EADT this afternoon, Mr Aldous said he was pleased to learn the actions of both Suffolk Constabulary and the East of England Ambulance Service in this case were to be independently examined.
He said: “It’s very important that these two investigations are properly coordinated because I think we need to establish between the two services exactly what happened.
“There was clearly a tragic error and we need to see where this did happen so we can learn from that and put the system right.
“I welcome the fact there has been a rapid response from when I was at PMQs yesterday lunchtime.
“We need to establish exactly what happened so we can learn lessons from that and take steps to improve the system to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”
The East of England Ambulance Service has confirmed it was called by police at 3.46pm on December 27 reporting a man was sitting outside an address in Lowestoft and he was conscious, breathing and had no obvious injuries or medical complaint. The call was categorised as a non-emergency and not requiring a response.
The trust received a call to the same address at 10.33am on December 28 stating that the man was not breathing and was in cardiac arrest.
A paramedic arrived within eight minutes but the man was confirmed deceased.
“This case is being formally investigated by the trust and our findings will be reported back to the family in due course,” said a spokesman for the ambulance service.