No IPCC action over reggae star raid

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The Independent Online

Police officers who carried out a raid on the home of Smiley Culture, in which the reggae star died, will not face disciplinary action from the police watchdog.

Following an investigation, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said the operation at the home of the singer, whose real name was David Emmanuel, was "not satisfactory".

At least one of the four Metropolitan Police officers involved has been criticised by the IPCC after Mr Emmanuel died from a single stab wound to the heart while police searched his Surrey home on 15 March this year.

But the criticism is not strong enough to initiate misconduct procedures, according to the IPCC.

The only action the officers can now face is if the Met initiates an "unsatisfactory performance procedure", which can result in dismissal, but which the IPCC cannot direct.

Mr Emmanuel's death was described as "bizarre" by his family, who also criticised police at the time.

In a letter to the singer's nephew, Merlin Emmanuel, Mike Franklin, IPCC commissioner, said: "On this occasion the investigation has identified aspects of the operation which were not satisfactory, and criticism has been made of some of the officers' actions.

"However, these do not meet the threshold for misconduct under the police misconduct system."

Mr Emmanuel's family was told that he stabbed himself while making a cup of tea, despite the presence of officers in his home.

The officers could still face criminal charges if the commissioner sees evidence of a criminal offence and sends the IPCC's report to the Crown Prosecution Service.

But in his letter, Mr Franklin said the IPCC has "not found any evidence which would suggest any criminal acts were committed by any of the officers in the house".

Mr Franklin also said the IPCC cannot force the officers to be interviewed as they are witnesses and therefore any co-operation is voluntary.

"As they are not suspects, they will not be formally interviewed," he said.

Mr Franklin said no fingerprints were found on the knife in Mr Emmanuel's chest, but that his DNA was found on the hilt.

"Contrary to public perception, this is not unusual and can happen for many reasons," he said.

Mr Emmanuel, who was 48, found fame as Smiley Culture with a string of 1980s hits including Cockney Translation, and he appeared on Top of the Pops.

His autobiographical 1984 hit Police Officer tells how he was caught in possession of cannabis but let off when the officer recognised him as a reggae artist.

Commenting two days after Mr Emmanuel's death, Merlin Emmanuel said: "We haven't had a clear, coherent, official explanation as to what happened to Smiley.

"The police have a lot to answer to. Until our questions, queries and suspicions have been fully and competently answered to dispel any notion of foul play, we will not rest.

"The truth must be known. Justice must be served."

In a statement today, the IPCC said: "The lead investigator has submitted his report to the IPCC commissioner who must be satisfied that the investigation has met all the objectives set out in the terms of reference agreed at the start.

"The commissioner will ensure that all reasonable lines of enquiry have been examined and may ask for clarification of certain points before he agrees that the report is final.

"Only at this stage will he make the decision about whether or not it should be referred to the CPS.

"All of this will be done as quickly as possible as the IPCC believes it is in the best interests of all concerned that matter are dealt with as soon as possible, but the commissioner will want to ensure he considers all aspects of the investigation report thoroughly before making any such decisions."