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Last Updated: Monday, 4 April, 2005, 15:20 GMT 16:20 UK
New Met policy over child deaths
Sally Clark with her husband Geoff
Sally Clark's conviction was ruled unsafe
Sudden deaths of infants aged under two in London will be investigated by the Metropolitan Police in a new way.

The Child Abuse Investigation Command will deal with such deaths to ensure "minimum standards of investigation".

Sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI) will now be handled by child protection officers and health professionals, not uniformed police.

The new procedures follow a report into Sally Clark's quashed conviction for murdering two of her sons.

The new policy, which include having four detective inspectors on call at any one time specifically to investigate such deaths, have been introduced under the name Project Indigo.

The Met recognises that the death of any baby is a tragedy and that every family has the right to have such an event properly investigated
Det Chief Supt Peter Spindler

It is based on some of the recommendations put forward by Baroness Helena Kennedy in a report last year on the best way forward for investigating SUDI.

Her report was based on the findings of a working group set up to review how sudden deaths in infancy should be investigated after Sally Clark's case. She was freed on appeal in January 2003.

Another mother, Angela Cannings, spent 18 months in jail for the murder of two of her children but her conviction was quashed in December 2003 when key medical evidence against her was discredited.

'Respect and sensitivity'

Det Chief Supt Peter Spindler, head of the Met's Child Abuse Investigation Command, said: "The Met recognises that the death of any baby is a tragedy and that every family has the right to have such an event properly investigated.

"We are committed in ensuring that a balanced investigative approach is taken, taking into consideration the needs of the family.

"The investigation of sudden unexpected death in infancy requires experience at a senior level so that inquiries can be conducted with respect and sensitivity."

The Met is thought to be the first police service in the UK to investigate SUDI since the publication of the report.

The Met said statistics show 63 infants died suddenly and unexpectedly in London in 2004.




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