Henry Hicks: Four police officers cleared of gross misconduct over moped death crash teenager

Rachel Roberts
Henry Hicks died a few days before Christmas in 2014 following a moped crash as he was followed by two unmarked police cars

Four police officers have been cleared of gross misconduct after a teenager died in a moped crash as he was followed by two unmarked patrol cars.

Henry Hicks was fatally injured when his scooter collided with traffic in Islington, north London, on the evening of 19 December 2014.

The 18-year-old was trying to evade the unmarked cars at the time of the crash and died from blunt force trauma to the head, according to the findings of a separate inquest jury.

All four officers, granted anonymity during the inquest and hearings, faced allegations they breached standards of professional behaviour in that they failed to follow orders and carry out instructions.

The misconduct hearing panel, led by an independent chair, spent four days considering the evidence, the Metropolitan Police said.

The panel determined the behaviour of the officers did not breach professional standards, and that the officers were not engaged in a pursuit, despite the narrative verdict recorded at the inquest.

Mr Hicks's sister, Claudia said the family are “beyond disappointed” by the ruling.

“We don't understand how the panel can have reached a different conclusion to that of the inquest jury,” she said through the charity Inquest.

“We won't stop fighting for accountability for Henry's death. We miss him every day.”

In June last year, an inquest jury ruled that the teenager was trying to get away from officers following him, and that it “was a police pursuit” as defined by the force's standard operating procedure.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission also found that the officers “conducted a pursuit without authorisation from a senior officer in the control room”.

“It is the opinion of the investigator that the officers also did not consider the risks to Henry of the pursuit or make any considerations as to whether he may have been a juvenile,” the watchdog said last year.

Following the latest hearing, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Richard Martin extended his “thoughts and sympathies” to the Hicks family.

“Police officers fully understand that they will be asked to account for their actions, especially in the circumstances where a young man dies,” he said.

Mr Martin said the panel had “given full consideration to all the evidence” in making their determination.

“When the jury returned its narrative verdict at the inquest last year into Henry's death the Met carried out a thorough review of our pursuit policy, and we have continued to keep it under review ever since,” he said.

“We have a clear duty to the public and all our staff who serve the public to make sure we have the very best training and policies to support our officers on the ground.”

The inquest at St Pancras Coroners' Court last year heard Mr Hicks was found with seven bags of skunk cannabis following the crash, and was also in possession of multiple phones. The teenager had no criminal convictions.

The jury found that alongside his attempt to avoid police, his speeding and swerving in combination with the powerful 300CC moped he was riding were contributory factors to the fatal collision.

The narrative conclusion reached by the jury read: “Henry David Hicks died as a result of a road collision on Wheelwright Street. Immediately prior to this collision Henry David Hicks was aware that plain clothes police officers were in unmarked vehicles driving at whatever distance behind him and wanting him to stop. This was a police pursuit, as defined by the Metropolitan Police Service standard operating procedures.”