Police ‘acted reasonably’ in Dunmow non-fatal shooting, investigation concludes

PUBLISHED: 11:33 22 May 2017 | UPDATED: 15:20 22 May 2017

The scene of the non-fatal shooting in Dunmow. Picture: ANGELA SINGER/ARCHANT

The scene of the non-fatal shooting in Dunmow. Picture: ANGELA SINGER/ARCHANT


An investigation into the non-fatal police shooting of a Dunmow man who made threats to kill has concluded that officers acted reasonably.

An Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation into the shooting of Stephen Debley, 48, found no conduct issues for any police officer, although recommendations were made to the force.

Debley was shot and injured in Knights Row on September 1, 2015, after he pointed a replica gun at officers, and had earlier called the force’s control room to say he had two firearms and would “shoot any copper”.

Debley, of Knights Way, was the first person to be shot by Essex Police in 31 years and sustained a gunshot wound to his right thigh, a fractured cheekbone and swelling to his left wrist in the incident.

Officers shot him with a firearm, plastic bullet and a taser when he refused to put his weapon down, in what was believed to a “death by cop” suicide attempt.

Mary Cunneen, IPCC commissioner, said: “This was a fast moving incident in which officers had to make split-second decisions.

“Mr Debley had made threats to kill and later pointed a gun at officers in a residential area.

“Evidence provided to the investigation supported the belief of firearms officers that they had to take action to prevent Mr Debley from causing serious injury or death to themselves or others.”

Recommendations were made to the force over how information relevant to incidents is passed on to officers deployed at a scene, and regarding post-incident procedures.

Mrs Cunneen added: “This investigation looked at this incident in full, and concluded the force should ensure its post-incident procedure training accurately reflects national guidance.

“We also recommended Essex Police consider how information obtained by officers is passed to the force control room and officers at the scene of the incident, to ensure all relevant information is provided in the quickest and most appropriate form.

“I am pleased that Essex Police has accepted these recommendations.”

Debley was jailed at Chelmsford Crown Court in February 2016 after pleading guilty to offences of possessing firearms with intent, affray and making threats to kill.


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