Chief inspector under investigation

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POLICE HAVE launched an inquiry into the actions of a detective chief inspector and three other officers who investigated the horrific death of a black musician, Michael Tachie-Menson, found in flames in a street in Edmonton, north London last January.

Senior police officers commissioned the inquiry earlier in March this year after reservations about the handling of the case which included failing to seal off the crime scene, treating the victim as mentally ill, ignoring claims he was attacked and assuming that the injuries were not life-threatening.

The case has prompted Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner John Townsend to write personally to Mr Tachie-Menson's family expressing his "regret" and that police action was "not as thorough" as he would have wished. He admitted senior officers failed to challenge two other officers at the scene who wrongly assumed Mr Tachie-Menson had set himself on fire.

The musician, whose band Double Trouble reached number two in the charts 10 years ago, died from his injuries a fortnight later. His family have always claimed he was the victim of a racist attack by white youths.

Police, say it is still unclear how Mr Tachie-Menson came to be on fire. Mr Tachie-Menson, who was in his 20s, had been found with severe burns by two officers in the early hours of 28 January last year after he staggered to the edge of London's North Circular road.

The Metropolitan Police has come in for severe criticism in recent years over its handling of the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence. Senior officers have signalled a new approach to racist killings.

Three of the four officers involved have either retired or are in the process of doing so.