October 3, 2008 / 2:00 PM / 12 years ago

Police chief condemns crowd who urged teen to jump

LONDON (Reuters) - A police chief has condemned “ghoulish” bystanders who urged a teenager to jump from the top of a car park and filmed his death on their mobiles, but said officers were right not to arrest them.

Derbyshire’s Chief Constable Mick Creedon said he was disgusted by reports onlookers taunted Shaun Dykes, 17, with shouts of “Go on, get on with it” and “How far can you bounce.”

But he backed his officers’ decision to make no arrests at the cordon because it could have led to a shortage of police to cope with the incident in Derby city centre on Saturday.

“The few available officers at the scene were doing their best to manage a difficult situation so as to allow trained staff to talk to Shaun,” Creedon said in a statement on Friday.

“They should not have to deal with the extra distraction of the deviant and ghoulish behaviour of a few.

“If arrests had been made, this would have necessitated perhaps two officers leaving the scene for every person arrested. Very quickly we might have had no staff available to provide the necessary security and safety cordon, placing even more people at potential risk. “Whilst we are very used to dealing with incidents like this, this was unusual with members of the public videoing, taking photographs and even shouting for Shaun to jump.

“Pictures have even been posted on the Internet.”

The behaviour of some people in the crowd was roundly condemned. The Bishop of Derby, the Right Reverend Dr Alastair Redfern said those responsible should feel “deeply ashamed.”

An inquest will be held into Dykes’ death. Media reports said he had been suffering from depression.

Reporting by Peter Griffiths; Editing by Steve Addison

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