THE POLICE watchdog has begun an investigation into another four police officers as part of its inquiry into the sudden death of a man shortly after being released from custody.

Mohamud died on Saturday 9th January 2021 after being arrested at his home in Cardiff. He was detained overnight and released the next morning without charge.

One police officer had already been served a notice of investigation by the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC) for failing to inform the Custody Officer at Cardiff Bay police station that Mohamud had complained of feeling like he was about to have a fit whilst he was being transported in the back of a police van to the police station.

Three South Wales Police officers and one custody detention officer have now been served notices of investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

Another police officer previously served has received an updated misconduct notice.

Died shortly after leaving police custody: Mohamud Hassan

Three of the notices relate to when Mr Hassan was in custody at Cardiff Bay police station, and two concern the actions of officers who attended the Newport Road address on the evening of Mr Hassan’s arrest.

An update from the IOPC said: “In terms of Mr Hassan’s period in custody, we have served:

  • a notice at gross misconduct level on a police officer that they may have breached police professional standards of duties and responsibilities, and honesty and integrity. We are examining the adequacy of welfare checks carried out and whether these were in line with required standards, and entries the officer made on the custody record;
  • a notice at misconduct level on a police officer concerning their use of force while escorting Mr Hassan shortly after he arrived at the custody suite; we are examining whether the use of force was necessary, proportionate and reasonable in the circumstances;
  • a notice at misconduct level on a custody detention officer that they may have breached police professional standards of duties and responsibilities concerning the adequacy of welfare checks carried out, and whether these were in line with required standards. “In terms of the evening of Mr Hassan’s arrest for alleged breach of the peace, we have served notices at misconduct level on two police officers concerning their decision-making on use of force on Mr Hassan when at the property.

“We are considering whether the use of force was necessary and proportionate in the circumstances.

“Service of a misconduct notice does not necessarily mean an officer has committed any wrongdoing. It is to notify an officer that their conduct is being investigated.”

IOPC director for Wales, Catrin Evans, said that in the course of an investigation, where an indication arises that an officer may have breached professional standards that may warrant a disciplinary sanction.

“We serve a disciplinary notice to advise them they are subject to investigation,” she said. “We keep misconduct notices under review during the course of an investigation. At the conclusion the IOPC decides whether any officer under notice has a disciplinary case to answer.”

The watchdog has previously indicated that Hassan could have suffered injuries during a large disturbance at his home the night before his death.

More than 30,000 people have signed a petition calling on the watchdog to release documents and CCTV footage detailing the contact between officers and the 24-year-old on the evening of 8 January.

Hassan, who was of Somali heritage, was arrested at his Cardiff home on a Friday evening on suspicion of breach of the peace. He arrived at the police station just after 10pm and was released without charge the following morning. Officers said he left custody at about 8.30am. He died later that day.

Hassan came into contact with dozens of police officers during his final hours. The IOPC subsequently said that while not all had direct contact or involvement with Hassan, they were gathering accounts from 46 officers and police staff who were on duty at Cardiff Bay police station over two shifts as well as those who were in supervisory positions.

Two weeks earlier the watchdog said a police officer who accompanied Hassan to the police station in a van had been served a misconduct notice. The watchdog is investigating whether the officer failed to relay Hassan’s complaints of having a fit and being in pain when they arrived at Cardiff Bay police station.