Senior police officer says sorry for delay in informing family of death of Richard Davies who was shot by a police firearms officer

The shooting took place in Duck Lane, St Neots.

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

A senior police officer has apologised to the parents of Richard Davies after hearing they were not informed of their son’s death until the day after he was shot by a police firearms officer.

Chief Supt Chris Mead, of Cambridgeshire Constabulary, was giving evidence at the inquest into Mr Davies’s death and was asked to explain the delay in telling Mr Davies’s wife, Samantha, and his parents, Christopher and Gillian, about the fatal shooting.

The hearing at Peterborough Town Hall was told Samantha Davies was asked by police to remain at her neighbour’s house after the incident and it was only at 10.30pm - more than two hours after the fatal shot had been fired - that she was informed her husband had died.

The inquest has already been told that Gillian Davies had discovered from a social networking site there had been an incident in Duck Lane, but she and her husband only learned it had involved their son the following morning.

Chief Supt Mead admitted: “We didn’t get this right.”

He continued: “If this had been a member of my family, I would have wanted to have been told in a timely, compassionate and appropriate way. We should have communicated with family members in a more timely way...I’m sorry that did not happen.”

Coroner Nicholas Moss interjected and said although he felt the issue was outside the scope of the inquest, as it happened after Mr Davies’s death, he would allow Chief Supt Mead to continue.

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“It is not a matter for the inquest, but that’s not to say it’s not important and I appreciate the strength of feeling,” said Mr Moss.

Chief Supt Mead went on to explain there had been a “breakdown in communication” which resulted from Cambridgeshire police and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) believing the other organisation had informed next-of-kin.

He went on to offer to meet with the family once the inquest had been concluded and said the constabulary’s procedure for informing relatives has been revised as a result of the incident. He also revealed the breakdown in communication on the night also extended to the coroner’s office not being told of the death until the following day.

Chief Supt Mead confirmed that his involvement on the night of October 21, 2015, began around 8.37pm when, as the on-call post incident manager, he took responsibility, after being told a weapon had been discharged.

He said he received a call from Inspector Terry Furlong, from Cambridgeshire police, who told him: “Sir, this is the call that no tactical firearms officer ever wants to make.”

Chief Supt Mead then spoke to one of the six firearms officers, named as N6, who was still in the house and who told him attempts were being made to resuscitate Mr Davies. At 9.19pm, Chief Supt Mead was told Mr Davies had died.