POLICE officers are unlikely to face disciplinary action in connection with a man’s death in York’s River Ouse, The Press can reveal.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) was called in to investigate North Yorkshire Police after Steven O’Neill, 29, of The Wirral, drowned in the Ouse during a night out in April.

He was one of five people to die in York’s rivers in three weeks, but his case was referred to the IOPC by the force "due to police contact with Steven prior to his death".

The force said it was alerted by CCTV operators to "suspicious activity" on King's Staith in the early hours but on officers’ arrival a man ran off and a short time later entered the water, and his body was recovered.

Now an IOPC investigator has written to Steven’s mother, Sharon Scott, to say that the evidence gathered so far does not suggest officers breached police standards of professional behaviour.

He said he had finalised his assessment of the status of officers involved in the investigation, after examining evidence including bodycam and CCTV footage, radio transmission recordings, witness statements and three visits to the scene and an inspection of life saving equipment.

He said: “My assessment of all the evidence gathered to date in the investigation does not suggest the officers involved with Mr Scott may have breached the Police Standards of Professional Behaviour or acted in a manner that would justify disciplinary proceedings.”

He added that he had made the decision after careful consideration of all the evidence, and the full reasoning for it would be discussed in detail in an investigation report which he would prepare in the New Year.

Ms Scott said she was "appalled" by the investigator’s conclusions, and was planning to take civil action against North Yorkshire Police if the decision was upheld.

She said she did not believe sufficient care was taken for her son’s safety when he ran along the riverside or sufficient action was taken by officers to save his life after he had entered the water.

An IOPC spokesperson told The Press there had been a "detailed and thorough" investigation following Mr O’Neill’s tragic death and it had worked hard to complete its work as soon as possible.

“Some lines of inquiry are outstanding and, once completed, the next step is to write the final report,” they said. “The officers involved have been treated as witnesses throughout the investigation.

“We accept that, on occasion, the outcome of our investigations will not satisfy everyone concerned. Our work is independent; all the available evidence has been very carefully analysed and will be set out in the final report.

“We will then await the inquest into Mr O’Neill’s death, following which we will consider the publication of our findings.”

North Yorkshire Police said: “The investigation by the Independent Office of Police Conduct is still ongoing and the inquest into Steven’s death is yet to be heard. In view of these outstanding matters, it would not be appropriate to make any further comment.”