A police officer and a member of police staff have been issued with misconduct notices over their handling of the Plymouth gunman’s application for a shotgun, the police watchdog has said.
Jake Davison, 22, shot five people dead in Keyham, Plymouth, on 12 August before turning the gun on himself.
The apprentice crane operator had had his licence and shotgun removed by police in December 2020, following an alleged assault in September of that year. But the force returned the gun to him after he completed an anger management course.
Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) regional director David Ford said: “Based on the evidence gathered so far, we have now served disciplinary notices on two individuals within the force to advise them their conduct is subject to investigation.”
The serving of the notices means the staff at Devon and Cornwall Police are under investigation but does not mean that they will necessarily be disciplined.
The watchdog said it was investigating the police staff member’s handling of Davison’s original application for a shotgun certificate in July 2017, as well as their decision to return the shotgun and certificate in July this year.
The IOPC added that the police officer under investigation was responsible for investigating the assaults admitted by Davison in 2020.
A statement said: “We are investigating whether they shared information appropriately with the force Firearms and Explosives Licensing Department regarding Mr Davison’s involvement in a violent offence, and whether they took appropriate steps to seize the shotgun certificate, shotgun, and ammunition from Mr Davison.”
Davison killed his mother, Maxine Davison, 51, before attacking strangers in the nearby streets. He went on to kill Lee Martyn, 43, and his three-year-old daughter, Sophie Martyn, Kate Shepherd, 66, and Stephen Washington, 59, and injured two others.
Investigators said their probe had so far gathered information regarding firearms licensing law, guidance and procedure and Davison’s medical, education and employment records.
Mr Ford added that the IOPC intended to complete its investigation by the end of the year.
“We expect to submit a final investigation report, which will set out our findings, to the coroner and Devon and Cornwall Police in December,” he said.
“We appreciate the significant public interest in the enquiries taking place. In view of the inquest proceedings, the timing of publication of our findings will be determined following consultation with the coroner.”
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