Police officers stopped at McDonalds on 999 call to woman found hanged in Poplar

Met Police delayed 999 response

Met Police delayed 999 response - Credit: MPS

Two police officers “have a case to answer” for gross misconduct on duty over a delayed response to a 999 call when a woman was found hanged in London’s East End.

Met Police delayed 999 response

Met Police delayed 999 response - Credit: MPS

That’s the finding by the Independent Police Complaints Commission today after 22-year-old Fahima Begum died in her home in Poplar two years ago.

The Ambulance Service had received a 999 call from a worried friend on April 16, 2015, saying Fahima had sent him a suicidal text and was not answering the door.

The call was referred to police at 12.04am. Pcs Gavin Bateman and Tony Stephenson accepted the call, which was graded ‘significant’—that meant they had 60 minutes at most to get to the house.

The subsequent investigation by the Complaints Commission has established that the two officers responding to the 999 call dropped off first at a McDonald’s take-away to buy tea, then parked at a roundabout for 24 minutes and contacted the caller before heading to the house.

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An inquest seven months later found that Fahima committed suicide and had died before the 999 call was made.

“Our investigation established a significant delay between the officers accepting the call and attending Ms Begum’s home,” Commission delegate Colin Dewar said.

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“It will now be a matter for a panel to determine whether or not the officers’ response breached professional behaviour standards.”

The Met Police have agreed with the commission’s findings and recommendations. A gross misconduct hearing has been set for next Monday and Tuesday.

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