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Major Settlement and Reform of Kent Police following tragic death of Matthew Mackell



Our client, Mr Michael Bond, has reached a major settlement with Kent Police as well as securing a range of important reforms of the Force. This followed the death of his son, Matthew, on 6 May 2020.

Kent Police have today released the following statement:

On 6 May 2020, 17-year old Matthew Mackell called Kent Police for help. He told us he was going to kill himself and asked us to send someone to pick him up. We have recently settled a claim brought by Matthew’s father and his Estate under the Human Rights Act 1998.

Following Matthew’s death, Kent Police conducted an internal review which identified a number of things that Kent Police ought to have done differently that night, and in the software available to and training of Kent Police’s Control Room staff.

Key amongst them was that a new enhanced mapping software, which would have pinpointed the location of Matthew’s last call to Kent Police with a high degree of accuracy, had not been set to ‘default’ on the Control Room systems so it did not appear on staff’s screens. The mapping software that was set to ‘default’ pinpointed the location of Matthew’s last call to Kent Police to a wide area and resulted in a decision to downgrade the priority Matthew’s call and to a patrol not being sent to search for him.

Every day Kent Police deals with a high volume of calls from and about members of the public whose lives are at risk and successfully prioritises the deployment of limited police resources to manage those risks. It is a matter of deep regret to Kent Police that we fell short of the high standards to which we aspire in Matthew’s case.

We offer Matthew’s family our sincere apologies.

Further, we acknowledge that the way in which Matthew’s call to Kent Police on 6 May 2020 was handled was in violation of Matthew’s Article 2 ECHR rights as well as those of his father, Michael.

An inquest was held into Matthew’s death before HM Coroner. During the inquest hearing in its response to a ‘preventing future deaths’ report issued by HM Coroner and in correspondence with Matthew’s father, Kent Police has set out how it has improved its policies, procedures and training in light of Matthew’s death.

Following detailed and constructive discussions with Matthew’s father, we have embedded Matthew’s story into Kent Police’s training for staff.

We offer our sincerest condolences to Matthew’s family, namely Matthew’s father, his mother and his two brothers. We hope that the actions of this settlement will help to honour Matthew’s memory, who we understand was a bright and caring young man.

We will continue to work with Matthew’s family, who have shown an incredible dedication to suicide awareness, to improve Kent Police policies, procedures and training to ensure that something like this never happens again.”

For further information, please contact Mr Bond’s solicitor, Daniel Cooper, on danielc@ikandp.co.uk or 0207 404 3004


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