UK

Misconduct hearing ‘at earliest opportunity’ for officer who shot 28-year-old

Jermaine Baker was shot by police (Family handout/PA)
Jermaine Baker was shot by police (Family handout/PA)

A firearms officer who killed a 28-year-old man during a foiled prison breakout will face a misconduct hearing “at the earliest opportunity”, the Metropolitan Police has said.

W80 shot Jermaine Baker, from Tottenham, north London, as police stopped a plot to snatch two prisoners from a van near Wood Green Crown Court in December 2015.

Prosecutors said in 2017 that there was insufficient evidence to bring criminal charges over the shooting, but a police watchdog directed that the officer should face misconduct proceedings.

This sparked a lengthy legal battle between the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) and the officer, who was supported by the Met.

In July this year the Supreme Court ruled in the IOPC’s favour.

Wood Green Crown Court
Mr Baker was with a group of men who tried to free Izzet Eren and his co-defendant as they were transported from Wormwood Scrubs to Wood Green Crown Court to be sentenced for a firearms offence (PA)

On Monday, the Metropolitan Police said the misconduct hearing will take place but rejected the watchdog’s suggestion another force should run proceedings.

Instead, a member of the hearing panel, which will be chaired by an independent lawyer, will be from another force.

The Met said: “Given these events took place eight years ago and the ongoing process of investigation and inquiry has had a significant impact on all concerned, it is in everyone’s interests we proceed to the misconduct hearing and conclude this matter at the earliest opportunity.

“We have also considered the IOPC request that we ask another force to hold the hearing.

“Our position remains that we do not accept the Met’s objections to the IOPC’s earlier direction to hold a gross misconduct hearing, or our wider call for support and legal reassurance for armed officers, impinges upon our independence, nor the impartiality of the misconduct hearing process.

Margaret Smith, the mother of Jermaine Baker, had strongly supported the IOPC's call for another force to hold the misconduct hearing.
Margaret Smith, Jermaine Baker’s mother, strongly supported the IOPC’s call for another force to hold the misconduct hearing (PA)

“The hearing arrangements for W80 will be made by the Met. However, the police panel member will be from another force and the hearing led by an independent legally qualified chair.

“Arrangements are now being made for the hearing to proceed as soon as possible.”

It said the length of time being taken to resolve the case, in part due to the legal battle involving the force, shows the need for a Government review of how firearms officers are held to account when they kill someone.

Mr Baker’s mother Margaret Smith backed the IOPC’s call for another force to hold the misconduct hearing because the Met was involved in the legal battle that would have stopped it taking place.

Mr Baker was among a group of men trying to free Izzet Eren and his co-defendant as they were transported from Wormwood Scrubs to be sentenced for a firearms offence.

A number of men were jailed in 2016 for their parts in the plot.

A public inquiry in July 2022 found Mr Baker had been “lawfully killed” but said police made numerous failures in the planning and execution of the operation.