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More training for South Wales Police call handlers on flooding incidents following IPCC investigation

South Wales Police call handlers will receive more training on adverse weather incidents following an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation into the police response to reports of flooding prior to a man’s death.


Russell Sherwood, aged 69, was reported missing at around 9 am on 20 November 2016 after failing to collect his wife from work. On 23 November 2016, he was found dead inside his car which had become submerged in the River Ogmore in Ewenny, Bridgend. It is understood that his car was swept into the overflowing river at the same stretch of road earlier reported flooded to the police by another member of the public.


The IPCC has completed its investigation into the South Wales Police response to the earlier report, made at 5.25am in respect of flooding across New Inn Road in Ewenny on 20 November 2016 and whether call handlers properly risk assessed the information provided to them.


In the investigator’s opinion, one call handler has a case to answer for misconduct in relation to how he handled the initial flooding report. The call handler will face a misconduct meeting, to be arranged by the force in due course.


South Wales Police determined that a second call handler should be dealt with in accordance with police staff performance procedures.


The IPCC recommended that the force shares its contingency plan for responding to flooding more widely in the control room so that call handlers know how to deal with serious weather incidents.


IPCC Operations Manager Melanie Palmer said: “No-one could have foreseen the tragic death of Mr Sherwood and my thoughts remain with his family and all those affected.


“After we shared our findings with the force, they have agreed to take steps to amend and improve their adverse weather action plans for control room staff.”


An inquest into the death of Mr Sherwood was held in June and returned a narrative verdict.