'Not really a police issue': Police ignored five 999 calls about psychotic man


originally by: The Independent  
published: 19 June 2012

Emergency calls where a hostel manager desperately tried to warn police about the condition of a seriously disturbed man were played to a court room today.

Five calls were made telling police about Sean Rigg, a seriously disturbed psychotic man who had physically threatened his carers, damaged property and posed an immediate risk to the public were ignored, the inquest into his death heard.

Mr Rigg died in police custody in August 2008 after eventually being picked up on a street near the hostel where he lived in Brixton, south London. But desperate 999 calls made by managers at the hostel where he lived for more than three hours before his arrest, pleading for urgent police assistance, were not taken seriously, the court heard.

The jury at Southwark Coroner’s Court was played recordings of the final two calls by the manager of Mr Rigg’s hostel, Angela Wood, who broke down on several occasions while giving evidence.

Ms Wood was told by the final call handler to “speak to her MP” if she was unhappy about police procedures; that mental health was not “really a police issue” and that Mr Rigg was not an emergency.

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