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Kent Police officer at centre of inquiry into the arrest of Denby Collins at a house in Gillingham has resigned

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The police officer who has resigned while a crucial inquiry is under way into officers' conduct is NOT one of those being investigated, it's been revealed.

It comes after the family of Denby Collins claimed they would never find out the truth after the 38-year-old fell into a coma after being handcuffed.

They believed an officer who had resigned was being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

Denby Collins
Denby Collins

But the Kent Police Federation has today confirmed the officer was only being called as a witness, and the resignation was "part of their long-term plan."

A statement issued today by the federation, which represents rank and file officers, said: "The officer who is resigning is not under investigation by the IPCC.

"In fact as late as five days ago the officer received a letter from the IPCC confirming their status as a witness."

Federation chairman Ian Pointon said the officer was co-operating fully with the IPCC and had already submitted a comprehensive witness statement and pocket note book entry.

Chief constable Alan Pughsley
Chief constable Alan Pughsley

He added: “It is wholly inappropriate for anyone to suggest this officer has done anything wrong or is seeking to avoid this IPCC investigation. This is simply not the case."

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating how Denby Collins became critically ill after being arrested and handcuffed at the house in Lower Rainham Road.

The 38-year-old has been in a coma since the incident in December.

His family had earlier said they had been told the officer resigning was one of those involved in the handcuffing, and was leaving in two days' time.

Denby Collins in a coma in hospital
Denby Collins in a coma in hospital

An IPCC spokesman said: “We were notified by Kent Police on June 11 that an officer, a witness central to our investigation, is due to resign the force shortly.

"The IPCC is taking steps to gather their evidence in advance of their departure.”

Police were called to the house on December 15, at about 3.20am, after an emergency call from the residents.

When officers arrived, they found at least one of the residents was restraining Mr Collins, who the police arrested as a suspected burglar and handcuffed.

However, Mr Collins, of St Alban’s Close, Gillingham, was unresponsive and the South East Coast Ambulance Service attended. He was taken to Medway Maritime Hospital.

Kent Police
Kent Police

The IPCC is investigating the use of force, including handcuffs, by the officers who attended the scene, the intelligence and information provided to the two initial attending officers and whether the arrest of Mr Collins was justifiable.

They are also looking at the first aid provided by the officers prior to the arrival of the ambulance service.

"Such resignations destroy public confidence in the police complaints system. We feel let down" - Denby Collins' family

The IPCC also considered complaints from Mr Collins’ family relating to the alleged failures of Kent Police to investigate the injuries he received, the information they provided to his family after the incident and the actions and decisions of the police once Mr Collins was in hospital.

The decision has been taken that these matters can be investigated by the Kent Police themselves.

Earlier this month, Kent Police said the officers involved were still on full duties and had not been suspended.

Mr Collins is being treated at to the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability in London, where he remains in a hypoxic coma, caused by oxygen deprivation to the brain.

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