The Metropolitan Police will be re-investigated by the watchdog police into how they dealt with the killings of 4 young men by Stephen Port, the serial killer. As families of the victims, Stephen Port feels a “big concern” remains on whether homophobia played a role in the flawed investigations into the murders.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) announced that on Thursday, it will re-examine how Scotland Yard investigated Port’s killing rampage in Barking east London between June 2014 until September 2015, even though those 17 police officers who were involved were disciplined.
Inquests held last year , into the murders of Anthony Walgate, 23, Gabriel Kovari, 22, Daniel Whitworth, 21, and Jack Taylor, 25, found that the Police’s negligence “probably” caused the deaths of those three victims. The IOPC stated that new evidence from the inquests “previously undiscovered by us” led it to reconsider its investigation of the MPS’s role in the deaths.
Port 47-year-old Port is guilty, and handed a life sentence in November of 2016 at the Old Bailey for the murders of four men.
Neil Hudgell, the families solicitor, stated that this was the “only reasonable decision available to the IOPC after the weight of evidence” that was heard during the inquest. “The initial IOPC report was blocked by a lack of communication in the sense that none out of 17 police officers who were questioned did not respond to interviews.”
He said: “There remains a big doubt as to whether prejudice against Police was a factor in the investigation … It is clear that the shoddy investigations conducted by police officers of the Metropolitan Police into deaths of four people is among the most widely-publicized institutional failures of the past century and is exacerbated by the shocking lack of regret, remorse or empathy displayed at the inquests of certain officers who were involved.
“The Inquests revealed fundamental flaws in the inquiry into the death of Anthony, which resulted in the fact that Port was at liberty to murder Gabriel, Daniel and Jack.
“We hope that the IOPC to continue to investigate with greater vigor. The families are willing to help with any assistance they can, and we hope they can say the same by Police.”
The Metropolitan police force was able to refer itself to the Police Watchdog back in October of 2015 following concerns raised by the watchdog about its initial investigations into four deaths.
The IOPC regional director, Graham Beesley, said following the inquests, the organization has closely scrutinized its original investigation and compared it to the latest evidence presented during the inquests. “A investigation will only be investigated by the IOPC when we’re satisfied that the initial investigation was defective in a manner that could have a bearing on subsequent decisions regarding discipline, performance, or refer to Crown Prosecution Service, and/or there is “significant new information’ that warrants more investigation.
“In the initial investigation, we looked into the conduct by 17 of the officers. Most of them did not comment during the misconduct interview and decided to write responses to investigators.
“Following review of the new information provided during the inquest, we’ve concluded that the initial investigation was not broad enough in scope. Consequently certain lines of inquiry weren’t followed. If this information had been available then, it might have resulted in different outcomes choices.”
The new group has been commissioned.
The jury at the inquest found that the officers from Barking failed to arrest Port after Port’s death when he administered the drug used for rape on dates GHB to Walgate the first victim before disposing of his body.
Port was able to strike three times before being arrested, killing all three victims within a similar setting, but Police was not able to link his involvement to the deaths, despite investigations conducted by the victims’ families and acquaintances that could have helped them identify the culprit earlier.
Officers have denied allegations of homophobia and prejudice and blamed the inconsistencies on the lack of staff and deficient in resources. certain officers acting out in high-ranking posts.