Manchester

Police failures found in Phillip Dorsett death case

Greater Manchester Police handled calls poorly in the case of a man found dead in a car, the police watchdog found.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigated two calls about Phillip Dorsett, 53, who was found dead in a car park in Bolton.

They found that Mr Dorsett was known to the force due to frequent calls being made about his welfare and "made assumptions" that he did not need help.

The police have since reinforced their policies on call handling.

Sign on scooter

Mr Dorsett, who was in poor health and used a mobility scooter, was found by a neighbour near his home in Great Lever at 09:20 GMT on 16 December last year.

He suffered from a disease which caused muscle, ligament and tendon pain and had a sign on his mobility scooter stating "do not call the emergency services I'm OK".

Greater Manchester Police received two calls, at 07:14 GMT and 08:59 GMT, on a non-emergency number from the neighbour.

The first call was graded as a grade three, requiring a response within four hours.

The IPCC's investigation said the call handler who dealt with the call had incorrectly graded it, and failed to clarify the man's location or re-contact the neighbour to advise there would be no police response.

A police constable advised the sergeant that it was the "usual call" and the sergeant agreed that the incident log could be closed without a police response.

'Very sad incident'

The IPCC said the second call handler who dealt with the neighbour's call at 08:59 GMT failed to ask any questions, assumed police officers had already checked Mr Dorsett and failed to identify that a significant amount of time had passed between calls which may have warranted further consideration.

She also failed to record this second call on an incident log.

As a result of these findings the police constable and the two members of staff have received management action, including an assessment of further training needs and words of advice.

IPCC Commissioner Naseem Malik said: "This was a very sad incident. It is evident that due to the past history of calls about Mr Dorsett the police officers and staff involved made assumptions on this occasion. This was clearly a mistake.

"There is no evidence to suggest Mr Dorsett might have lived with a quicker response, but that does not negate the fact that a member of the public needed assistance and Greater Manchester Police should have provided that assistance."

An inquest into Mr Dorsett's death concluded with a narrative verdict.

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