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Police watchdog to start interviewing officers as probe into Met’s handling of Stephen Port case steps up

PUBLISHED: 11:16 15 March 2017 | UPDATED: 11:16 15 March 2017

Stephen Port

Stephen Port

Archant

The killer was sentenced to life imprisonment in November for the murder of Gravesend chef Daniel Whitworth

The watchdog conducting a probe into the Met Police’s handling of a case in which a Gravesend chef was murdered is set to begin interviewing officers.

Stephen Port was sentenced to life imprisonment in November for the murder of Daniel Whitworth, 21, as well as three other young men he stalked on gay dating site, Grindr.

Mr Whitworth’s family recently launched an appeal for information ahead of planned legal action against the force’s handling of the case as a total of 17 police officers face investigation for possible misconduct over the catalogue of failures in catching the killer.

Scotland Yard bosses have admitted “potential opportunities” were missed and that investigators who failed to see “striking similarities” between the deaths of four men had only patchy knowledge of the use of drugs linked to gay sex.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is also investigating whether homophobia played a part in the errors.

IPCC Commissioner Cindy Butts said: “Over the coming weeks our investigators will be undertaking interviews with the 17 officers who have been served with notices as part of the investigation.

“These interviews are an important milestone in the investigation as we continue to build the picture of the police response to the deaths. Misconduct notices are not judgemental in any way.

“We are grateful for the information provided to us by the family and friends of Anthony, Daniel, Gabriel, and Jack, as well as members the LGBT community and the wider public, and MPS officers.

“In an investigation of this magnitude, centred upon the tragic murders of four dearly missed young men, every piece of information counts and we continue to wish to hear from anyone who can assist this important work.

“My thoughts remain with everyone affected by Port’s horrific crimes, and they can be assured that we are committed to providing them with thorough conclusions as soon as we are able.”

As part of the probe, IPCC investigators have so far collected and carefully analysed over 700 individual documents and around 200 statements.

Following the interview process, which will take a number of weeks, investigators will be in a position to complete the analysis of the evidence at hand, and begin preparing the IPCC’s final report.

Anyone with information should contact the IPCC on 0800 151 0021 or email barking&dagenham@ipcc.gsi.gov.uk

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