Independent investigation finds that officer who shot Richard Davies used ‘reasonable and proportionate force’

The shooting took place in Duck Lane, St Neots.

The shooting took place in Duck Lane, St Neots. - Credit: Archant

An Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation has concluded that the police officer who fatally shot Richard Davies used force that was “necessary, reasonable and proportionate in the circumstances”.

An inquest jury at Peterborough Town Hall today, July 21, returned a finding of lawful killing.

Mr Davies was shot by a firearms officer on October 21, 2015, after police were called to reports that he had tied his children up and threatened to kill them.

Police from a tri-force armed response unit – made up of officers from Bedfordshire Police, Cambridgeshire Constabulary and Hertfordshire Police – attended the scene, where Mr Davies fired a weapon a number of times from a window of his home in Duck Lane, St Neots.

One of the firearms officers decided he had “no other option other than to shoot him to prevent an immediate threat to life”.

Officers then forced their way into Mr Davies’ house where they gave him first aid, but he was pronounced dead a short time later.

A post mortem recorded Mr Davies’ cause of death as a single gunshot wound to the chest. This was the first time Cambridgeshire Constabulary had been involved in a fatal police shooting.

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The IPCC independently investigated the circumstances surrounding Mr Davies’ death after being notified by Cambridgeshire Constabulary shortly after the shooting.

IPCC associate commissioner Guido Liguori said: “We carried out a thorough investigation into the circumstances of the shooting and found no evidence that the officer who shot Mr Davies used unnecessary, unreasonable or disproportionate force.

“Mr Davies had an illegal firearm, which he was firing into a residential street towards police. Officers feared for their safety and the safety of others, and the trained firearms officer who fired the fatal shot believed the only manner in which lives could be protected was by shooting Mr Davies.

“My thoughts remain with all of those affected by his death.”

The IPCC investigation looked at the circumstances surrounding the fatal shooting of Mr Davies, including the actions of the firearms officers involved and their use of force.

It also examined the planning and decision making regarding the use of firearms, and the information that officers had about the incident and the events leading up to it.

The IPCC upheld a complaint from Mr Davies’ family in relation to the length of time it took for Cambridgeshire Constabulary to inform them of Mr Davies’ death.

Associate commissioner Liguori added: “Mr Davies’ family did not find out until some hours after the fatal shooting that he had died. They should have been informed by police without delay once Mr Davies had been identified, but in this case this did not happen.

“We upheld the complaint about the time taken to inform Mr Davies’ family of his death and have raised this as a learning issue for Cambridgeshire Constabulary. The force has accepted there were missed opportunities to inform his family sooner.”