Police ‘very, very poor’ in Harry Dunn investigation – ex-senior Met officer

A former senior ranking Metropolitan Police officer has labelled the investigation into the death of Harry Dunn as “very, very poor”.

Dal Babu, who was a Chief Superintendent until his retirement in 2013, said Northamptonshire Police had shown a “lack of compassion” towards the teenager’s family and he had “a lot of concerns” about parts of the investigation.

The 19-year-old’s family decided to refer the force to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) following a meeting with their lawyers on Thursday.

Harry Dunn death
Chief Constable of Northamptonshire Police, Nick Adderley, speaking during a press conference at Northamptonshire Police HQ at Wootton Hall Park, Northampton about the death of Harry Dunn (Jacob King/PA)

Anne Sacoolas, the 42-year-old wife of a US diplomat, is believed to have been driving on the wrong side of the road when she hit Mr Dunn’s motorbike outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire on August 27.

On Tuesday, the family’s spokesman Radd Seiger told the PA News Agency they had found lawyers who were willing to work with them to pursue a “civil claim for damages” against the suspect.

He also said the lawyers would be looking into the conduct of US President Donald Trump’s administration in the decision to grant Mrs Sacoolas diplomatic immunity following the crash.

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US president Donald Trump (PA)

Mr Babu, who served with the Metropolitan Police for 30 years, has now questioned whether a small force such as Northamptonshire Police had the “necessary expertise” to lead such a complex investigation.

Speaking about the police’s involvement in the case, Mr Babu told PA: “Just looking at it as an outsider, I have a lot of concerns about the investigation and the way the family has been treated.

“There seems to be a lack of compassion from Northamptonshire Police, the Foreign Office and the Government.

“There was confusion over diplomatic immunity and whether the suspect had it or not. All in all, the investigation seems to have been very, very poor in terms of family support.”

Dunn
Former Metropolitan Police Chief Superintendent Dal Babu (PA)

Addressing the role of the family liaison officer (FLO) in the case, Mr Babu continued: “Normally you would have a family liaison officer and from there that individual would be keeping the family updated on what is happening.

“The failure to keep the family informed in this case would be a failure in policing terms – the FLO has to build a relationship with the family.

“The police investigation lacked clarity and transparency for the family and the failure of the family liaison officer to keep the family informed was very disappointing.”

Harry Dunn death
Spokesman Radd Seiger for the family of Harry Dunn, flanked by mother Charlotte Charles and father Tim Dunn (PA)

Questioning the methods used by police during the investigation, Mr Babu told PA: “In terms of the investigation, there are a few things to be factored in – like seizing her passport and whether a test was done for alcohol or drugs.

“I think you would consider seizing the suspect’s passport – you would consider it if you had concerns about her leaving.

“The investigation has not been done with sufficient vigour. Northamptonshire Police is a small force so would they have the necessary expertise?”

Harry Dunn death
Please Drive on Left signs and arrows have been placed on the B4031 road outside RAF Croughton, in Northamptonshire, where Harry Dunn died (Steve Parsons/PA)

Mr Babu also described the police’s potential trip to the United States to question Mrs Sacoolas as a “complete waste of taxpayers’ money”.

He said: “The suspect leaves the country and Northamptonshire Police are now thinking of travelling to the US. That serves no purpose whatsoever.

“It’s just a complete waste of public money. She needs to be coming here to face the consequences of her actions.”

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