The assistant chief constable of West Mercia Police has expressed deep regret and shock after an officer from the force was found to be criminally responsible for the death of former footballer Dalian Atkinson.
Rachel Jones made the statement after a jury at Birmingham Crown Court found Police Constable Benjamin Monk guilty of manslaughter. PC Monk will be sentenced on Monday (June 28) and will be the subject of a fast-track misconduct process in due course.
Ms Jones said: “I am sincerely sorry and extend my apologies and deep condolences to Dalian’s family and friends. You have demonstrated great dignity and strength throughout. Dalian’s death has devastated his family, friends and local community. It has also caused great shock and sadness throughout the police service.
“Police officers come to work to serve their communities and keep the public safe. Our uniform should represent justice, public safety and the observance of the law. Those who wear it, as individuals, are also subject to those laws and should be held to the very highest standards of conduct and behaviour. A police uniform does not grant officers immunity to behave unlawfully or to abuse the powers bestowed upon us by the public.
“On the night of August 15, 2016, PC Ben Monk behaved in a way that has been found to have directly contributed to Dalian’s death, and he has been convicted as a result.
“We do not underestimate the impact of this case and today’s verdict. It is wide-reaching and immeasurable. Nor do we underestimate the significant damage that it has done to the trust and confidence in the police locally and nationally, particularly to black people. It causes grave concern within the police service.
“We work hard to build and maintain the trust and confidence of the communities we serve. When something happens to harm that relationship, we must stop, listen and work with the public, particularly those communities where trust is fragile, to strengthen those bonds. We recognise there is much to do.
“This was a lengthy and complex process led by the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC). Whilst I acknowledge that it was delayed in part due to Covid-19, it has still taken nearly five years to complete, which has been an extremely long and difficult journey for all involved.
“The IOPC made a number of recommendations to us following Dalian’s death, including the introduction of body-worn video and further training regarding Taser use. I want to reassure you those recommendations have been implemented. We will also continue to work with national colleagues to support and implement further change to ensure we continue to be in line with best practice.”