Beds, Herts & Bucks

Leon Briggs Luton memorial dubbed a 'security risk'

Tributes to Leon Briggs outside Luton police station
Image caption Tributes to Leon Briggs were left outside Luton police station

A floral memorial to a man who died in police custody will be removed after it was deemed a "security risk".

Leon Briggs, 39, died in hospital in November 2013 after being detained at the Marsh Road police station in Luton.

Bedfordshire Police said its security concerns about the memorial - which had grown much larger than it had initially been - involved the risk of something untoward being hidden there.

The Justice 4 Leon campaign warned of a backlash if it were removed.

Liberty Louise, from the campaign, said: "There will be some sort of community backlash.

"If this is the message they want to give out to the community, that 'we are not going to listen to you', it is up to them to deal with the aftermath."

Image caption Leon Briggs died in hospital after becoming ill at Luton police station

Bedfordshire Police Chief Constable Colette Paul said she had listened to the concerns raised by the family about the memorial, which has been at the station for more than a year.

The memorial, which includes flowers, candles and messages, has repeatedly been the focus of vigils in memory of Mr Briggs.

"It is regretful if we have caused any upset to Leon Briggs' family who have been informed about the recommendations in the security report," she said.

"It is correct that the report contains a recommendation to remove the memorial and the risk is being assessed as part of our overall review of estate security.

"We will be liaising with Leon Briggs' family to be as sensitive as we can about removing the security risk but at the same time providing a safer option for a focus of vigil for the family and friends of Mr Briggs as well as meeting the security requirements."

The case is still being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

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