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IPCC Cheng Somers investigation leads to a Serious Case Review

February 19, 2013, 1:39 pm

The Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation into how Devon and Cornwall Police dealt with reports relating to Cheng Somers is progressing well and notices of investigation have been served on five call handlers involved in call handling on 24 and 25 July.

The IPCC is focusing on how Devon and Cornwall Police dealt with Cheng Somers during their contact with him in the weeks leading up to his death and how they responded to a call from a member of the public on 25 July, who reported that a man outside his house was taking tablets. Mr Somers’ body was found by a member of the public on 22 August at the rear of Winner Hill, Paignton, Devon.

The IPCC is also investigating how the police dealt with the missing person report made by Mr Somers’ family on 31 July and complaints made by his family about the way their telephone calls to the police were handled.

IPCC Commissioner Rachel Cerfontyne wrote to Jim Gould, independent chair of the Plymouth Safeguarding Adults Board, to suggest a review into the case of Cheng Somers and Mr Gould has agreed to set up a Serious Case Review into whether there are any lessons to be learnt and to examine the way local professionals and agencies worked together to safeguard vulnerable adults.

IPCC Commissioner Rachel Cerfontyne said: “It is clear that Mr Somers had mental health issues and he was very vulnerable. I am pleased the Safeguarding Adults Board has decided to set up a review and we will of course share our investigation findings with it.

“Our investigation into police actions has made significant progress but we still have a lot of work to do. I have also arranged for two independent external experts in mental health and diversity issues to assist our investigation.

“We have had several meetings with Mr Somers’ family and continue to provide them with regular updates. I have also met with Plymouth and Devon Race Equality Council Co-director Ann Wilkinson.

“It is vital that the full circumstances of Mr Somers’ tragic death are investigated, in order to provide answers to the many questions his family have, to ensure the decisions and actions of the police are scrutinised and they are held to account for any failings and that any lessons are learned by the police and other agencies.”

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