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Gosport War Memorial Hospital: Police force ordered to investigate corruption complaints over probe into hundreds of deaths

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A police force that first investigated deaths at a scandal-hit hospital has been ordered to carry out an inquiry into complaints of corruption as new inquests are opened into four deaths dating back more than 20 years.

Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate is examining 15,000 death certificates as part of an investigation into deaths at Gosport War Memorial Hospital in the 1990s.

The investigation was launched into the Hampshire unit after an inquiry found that hundreds of patients had their lives shortened through the use of opioids.

A short hearing was held at Portsmouth Coroner’s Court on Thursday to open inquests into the deaths of Dulcie Middleton, Horace Smith, Eva Page and Clifford Houghton, which date back to the late 1990s, following requests from their families.

It emerged at the hearing that the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) had been contacted by relatives after Hampshire Constabulary, which first investigated the hospital, declined to probe accusations against the force of corruption.

A spokesman for the IOPC confirmed it had asked the Hampshire force to look again at the allegations and carry out a complaints procedure.

David Wilson, the nephew of Ms Middleton, asked the coroner if the inquests should be delayed until the completion of investigations by other agencies including the IOPC.

Coroner Chris Wilkinson replied that the police investigation is the only ongoing probe and the inquests could resume on its completion.

The IOPC spokesman said: “From December 2020 to March 2021 several requests for reviews were received from 12 complainants concerning allegations of corruption relating to Hampshire Constabulary’s criminal investigation of deaths at Gosport War Memorial Hospital between 1987 and 2001.

“The reviews were against the outcome of the force’s handling of complaints stemming from the Gosport Independent Panel (GIP) report into the deaths, released in 2018.

“The force determined that there were no additional conduct matters or criminal allegations that required investigation.

“Following the reviews we have upheld each case on the grounds that the outcomes provided by the force were not reasonable and proportionate.

“This was mainly due to insufficient rationale and relevant information being given to the complainants to understand how decisions had been reached.

“We have now told the force a complaint investigation is required and they should provide the complainants with enough information to explain what inquiries have been carried out and how they reached their conclusions.

“During this process, if there are any matters that have not been previously dealt with, Hampshire Constabulary should appropriately consider and seek to resolve those matters.

“Upon conclusion of this work, a fresh right of review to the IOPC will be provided to the complainants.”

A Hampshire police spokesman said: “We have just received a response from the IOPC. This is clear that we need to explain our decisions better.

“They have asked us to explain our rationale more clearly and to share more information with the complainants. It is our intention to do that.”

The new inquests will look at the death of 71-year-old Mr Houghton after he was admitted to the hospital in February 1994 for a period of respite.

He died on the day he was given two doses of diamorphine because of “deterioration”, and the 2018 review panel concluded that he was given opioids without appropriate clinical indication.

His stepdaughter Pamela Byrne believes there is reason to suspect her stepfather died a “violent or unnatural death”.

Mrs Middleton died aged 86 in September 2001, three months after she was admitted to the hospital for rehabilitation following a stroke.

Her nephew David Wilson and daughter Marjorie Bulbeck say Mrs Middleton’s treatment at the hospital was “neglectful and inhumane, she was not assisted with food and became dehydrated and was denied basic nursing care”.

Ms Page, 88, died in March 1998 and the GIP report concluded her death was a case of opioid usage without appropriate clinical indication.

Mr Smith, 73, died in April 1999 after his condition had been said to be improving, although he was subsequently prescribed diamorphine.

Emma Jones, partner at Leigh Day, representing the families, said: “We hope this will be the start of a complete, honest, open and thorough investigation into what happened to individuals at Gosport War Memorial Hospital.”

More than 450 people had their lives shortened at the hospital while another 200 were “probably” similarly given opioids between 1989 and 2000 without medical justification, according to the GIP report released in 2018.

The report said there was “a disregard for human life and a culture of shortening lives of a large number of patients” at the hospital.

For more stories from where you live, visit InYourArea.




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Hundreds of stolen cars recovered in global Interpol operation funded by the UAE

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A United Arab Emirates-funded global police operation targeting stolen vehicle trafficking has led to the recovery of hundreds of cars, trucks and motorbikes and almost half a million stolen cigarettes in just two weeks, Interpol announced on Wednesday.

Operation Carback saw frontline police at seaports and land border crossings in 77 countries use Interpol’s secure global police communications network – I-24/7 – to check vehicles and their owners against Interpol’s databases and instantaneously detect potential criminals or criminal activity.

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Interpol launched its ‘Reducing Vehicle Crime and Theft’ Program in 2016 with funding from the United Arab Emirates via Interpol’s ‘Foundation for a Safer World’, which financed Operation Carback 2022.

Since May 2016, the foundation has been supporting seven key Interpol initiatives by donating $52 million over a period of five years, as part of a contribution agreement between the Foundation and the UAE government.

In just over two weeks, Operation Carback led to the identification of 1,121 stolen cars and 64 motorcycles, the arrest or detention of 222 suspected stolen vehicle traffickers, the detention of eight suspected people smugglers, the detection of 26 fraudulent vehicle documents and the seizure of 480,000 stolen cigarettes.

Officers raided chop shops – places where stolen vehicles are dismantled into parts that are smuggled or sold online – with confiscations triggering further investigations into car crime gangs globally.

Interpol supported the operation by crosschecking information collected in the field against its international databases, with Frontex also supporting the European leg of frontline operations.

Experts from Interpol’s Stolen Motor Vehicles Unit were deployed to key locations to assist national law enforcement with database checks in the field as well as in exchanging, analyzing and acting on operational data.

With the Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) typically removed from stolen cars, on-the-ground assistance from Interpol enabled national law enforcement to connect with car manufacturers to identify vehicle origin.

Because stolen vehicles are frequently trafficked to finance and carry out crime ranging from drug trafficking, arms dealing and people smuggling to corruption and international terrorism, the Interpol General Secretariat headquarters is analyzing intelligence gathered during Operation Carback to identify links with other crime areas.

“With vehicles usually smuggled beyond borders and ending up thousands of miles away from where they were stolen, an international operation like Carback is crucial to enabling police to tackle the networks behind global car trafficking,” said Ilana de Wild, Interpol’s director of organized and emerging Crime.

“The main key to the success of Operation Carback is the wealth of information contained in Interpol’s Stolen Motor Vehicle database, and the fact that throughout the operation police in the field were able to access this crucial data.”

Last year, Interpol identified some 248,000 stolen vehicles thanks to the SMV database. More than 130 countries shared their national data with Interpol, and carried out more than 280 million searches.

The UAE has close links with Interpol and in November it was announced that the country’s Major General Ahmed Nasser al-Raisi, of the UAE’s interior ministry, had been elected as the new President of Interpol.

The senior police official will serve the four-year term in Lyon, France.

The new appointment makes him the first candidate from the Middle Eastern region to be elected into the position since the global crime fighting agency was founded in the 1920s.

Read more:

UAE Major General Ahmed Nasser al-Raisi elected as new Interpol President

UAE joins Interpol operation to crack down on human trafficking gangs

Dubai Police arrest international drug lord known as ‘The Ghost’


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Albanian Daily News – albaniandailynews.com

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Albanian Daily News  albaniandailynews.com


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S. Korean police drop case alleging defect in Tesla doors – The Hankyoreh

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