Met Police officer who fatally shot Jermaine Baker in 2015 to face misconduct hearing and could face sack
Jermaine Baker, 28, was shot dead during a foiled prison breakout more than seven years ago
The Metropolitan Police officer who shot and killed Jermaine Baker in 2015 during a foiled prison escape will face misconduct proceedings, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has confirmed.
Baker, 28, of Tottenham, north London, was shot when a Met Police operation thwarted a plot to snatch two prisoners from a police van near Wood Green Court. The incident took place in December 2015 with Baker part of a group of men attempting to free Izzet Eren and his co-defendant, who were incarcerated for firearm offences, while they were being transported from Wormwood Scrubs.
A lengthy legal battle over the future of the officer's career at the Met has continued over the past few years. In early 2023, the Supreme Court ruled that he could face misconduct hearings.
Prosecutors decided against pressing criminal charges against the officer, however the IOPC issued guidance that the force should bring disciplinary proceedings against the officer in question. This was challenged in the High Court in August 2019, where the decision was quashed but this was again reversed in the Court of Appeal in October 2020.
The Supreme Court then upheld the decision to allow proceedings to be brought against Officer W80, despite an appeal by the officer supported by the Met Police to the Supreme Court. An inquiry into Baker's death, which concluded in July 2022, ruled that Baker was killed lawfully.
IOPC acting director General Tom Whiting said: “This case has been through protracted legal proceedings which have been extremely challenging for everyone involved, not least W80 himself and Jermaine’s family. Following the Supreme Court ruling, we carefully reviewed our original decision. We considered evidence from the public inquiry, we invited additional representations from all parties, and sought additional independent assurance.
“We have now upheld our original decision that W80 should face a gross misconduct hearing. This isn’t a decision we have taken lightly, but we believe that it was the right decision in 2015 and remains so following the clear ruling from the Supreme Court in July. It’s important to stress that the IOPC does not decide whether or not W80’s actions amounted to gross misconduct – that is the role of the hearing panel who will come to a decision after considering all of the evidence.”
Met Police Deputy Commissioner Lynne Owens said: “Today’s announcement follows protracted legal proceedings which we know have had a significant personal impact on Mr Baker’s family, the officer, their family and colleagues. A public inquiry, concluded in July 2022, determined Mr Baker was lawfully killed.
"We disagreed with the IOPC decision to direct we hold a gross misconduct hearing for W80 and wrote in detail to the IOPC inviting it to review and reconsider its direction. We wrote to the IOPC more than a year ago and have today been informed of its decision. The IOPC has told us that the direction to bring proceedings stands and we must hold a misconduct hearing. We will review the IOPC decision and reasons and consider our next steps."
Owens added that the IOPC has asked the force to consider using another force to hold the hearings to ensure impartiality in the process. It comes after the Met Police Commissioner wrote to the Home Secretary to call for reforms to disciplinary proceedings for armed officers and the threshold of investigating police use of force.
The deputy commissioner said: “Our firearms officers do an incredibly difficult job in some of the most challenging and often dangerous circumstances. It is right and they expect and accept their actions are open to independent scrutiny – but officers need sufficient legal protection to enable them to do their job and keep the public safe, with confidence it will be applied consistently and without fear or favour.”
Jermaine Baker’s mother Margaret Smith has welcomed the decision to bring disciplinary proceedings against the officer. Following the announcement she said: "This is a request that we strongly support. Unfortunately, such a step appears to be necessary in light of the Commissioner’s statements in recent days – particularly his letter of 24 September 2023 to the Home Secretary – and his apparent capitulation to firearms officers demands for impunity."