Tower Hamlets police officers who bought tea at McDonald’s before going to an emergency call for a suicidal woman will keep their jobs.
Gavin Bateman and Tony Stephenson were sent to Fahima Begum’s home in Poplar after a friend raised the alarm.
The Met Police officers took nearly 40 minutes to arrive after accepting the call and found the 22-year-old hanged.
A disciplinary panel has cleared them of gross misconduct, saying they could not have saved her, even if they had responded immediately, reports the BBC .
However they have both been given final written warnings after breaching the Met’s standards of professional behaviour. Both admitted misconduct but denied gross misconduct.
The panel accepted the argument made on behalf of the officers that they had not been properly trained on how to deal with alerts from colleagues in the control centre.
The officers accepted an emergency call at 12.04am on April 16 that was graded “S” for “significant”, meaning they have a maximum of 60 minutes to attend the scene but should do so as soon as possible.
They were told a “psychotic” woman, who had sent a “suicidal text message” to a friend, was not the answering the door and there was a “significant risk of danger” to herself or others.
But instead of going to Ms Begum’s home, the officers drove to McDonald’s and then went to a roundabout to fill in paperwork from a previous job and contact the friend who had raised the alarm.
The pair arrived at Ms Begum’s home at 12.40am and found her dead.
The matter was referred by the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards to the Independent Police Complaints Commission who investigated and recommended the officers face gross misconduct proceedings.
The IPCC also looked at how the original call from the London Ambulance Service was dealt with by call handlers at Met Command and Control (MetCC) but found no officer had a case to answer for misconduct.
An inquest at Poplar Coroner’s Court in November 2015 found Fahima Begum was dead before the 999 call was made.
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