Police investigated following train death in Hereford

Ledbury Reporter: The IPCC is investigating the contact police had with a man prior to him being hit by a train. The IPCC is investigating the contact police had with a man prior to him being hit by a train.

AN investigation has been launched into the contact that West Mercia Police (WMP) had with a man prior to him being hit by a train in Hereford.

Luftar Coku, from Llanwarne, died at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham in August a week after he was in collision with a train near Hereford Railway Station.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said that WMP received a 999 call from a friend of Mr Coku's at 2.30pm on August 1 who had concerns for his welfare.

Officers attended an address in Leominster and detained the 39-year-old under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act.

He was taken to the A&E department of Hereford County Hospital by a paramedic and followed by two police officers.

But, shortly after 4.20pm, British Transport Police (BTP) reported a man had been hit by a train near the railway station and he was identified as Mr Coku.

The IPCC has now begun an independent investigation into WMP's response to the initial call regarding Mr Coku's welfare.

Investigators are also seeking to establish whether policies and procedures were adhered to in relation to his detention under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act and whether due care and attention was provided.

The investigation is also looking into whether the handover by officers to medical staff was in accordance and have served notices on two police officers who attended the hospital with Mr Coku.

Interviews will take place with them at a later date.

The IPCC has said that its investigation is not looking at the circumstances surround Mr Coku's death, because that was subject to an investigation by the BTP.

"This is a tragic case in which a man died following contact with police and I would like to express my sincere condolences to Mr Coku's family at this difficult time," said IPCC commissioner Derrick Campbell.

"We have made attempts to contact Mr Coku's family to advise them of our involvement and I am willing to meet them to answer any questions they may have regarding our investigation and its parameters.

"Our investigation, which is independent of the police, will examine whether WMP officers acted in accordance with their duty of care towards Mr Coku and whether policies and procedures were followed during their interaction with him.

"As commissioner, it is my role to ensure our investigation is thorough and robust and we will keep Mr Coku's family updates as the investigation progresses."

WMP press officer Sarah Buxton said that WMP will co-operate as much as it can with the IPCC's inquiries, but it cannot comment any further.

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