Local police under investigation after Plymouth shooting 9 months ago

Local police under investigation after Plymouth shooting

There are questions over how the Plymouth gunman had his firearm and license returned in July.

The police watchdog are investigating Devon and Cornwall police after it emerged that Jake Davison, the man who killed five people in a horrific shooting spree in Plymouth on Thursday evening, was given back his confiscated gun and permit just last month.


The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) says that Davison was stripped of a firearm and its license in December after he was accused of assault. The watchdog will now be investigating local police over its decision to return both to the 22-year-old in July.

On Thursday evening, Davison went on a shooting rampage through the Plymouth area of Keyham. After shooting his 51-year-old mother Maxine Davison at a house in Biddick Drive, he went into the street and shot dead Sophie Martyn, aged three, and her father Lee Martyn, aged 43.

He then killed Stephen Washington, 59, in a nearby park, and Kate Shepherd, 66, on Henderson Place, who later died at Derriford Hospital.


Finally, Davison turned the gun on himself. His attack lasted just six minutes.

But the focus of the IOPC's investigation into Devon and Cornwall police will be how Davison was able to have a licensed firearm at the time of the killing.

Related links:

Plymouth shooting: The ‘horrendous’ eyewitness accounts of gunman’s rampage


Plymouth shooting suspect Jake Davison said ‘I am a terminator’ in final YouTube video

Plymouth timeline: Police detail how Jake Davison killed five people in as many minutes

The BBC reports that the IOPC launched the investigation after receiving information that Davison's firearm and license were returned to him just a matter of weeks before his attack on Thursday.

The certificate and shotgun had been removed from him by police in December 2020 following an allegation of assault in September 2020, the watchdog said.


Regional IOPC director David Ford said: "We will examine what police actions were taken and when, the rationale behind police decision-making, and whether relevant law, policy and procedures were followed concerning Mr Davison's possession of a shotgun."

The watchdog will also look at whether the force had any information concerning Davison's mental health and if this was "appropriately considered."

In the weeks and months before his murderous spree, he had posted abusive and misogynistic rants on YouTube, making references to 'incels.'

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the issue of how Davison was able to legally own a gun should be "properly investigated," describing the shooting as "absolutely appalling."