THE family of an unarmed man shot dead in Culcheth by armed police have been told no action will be taken against any officer involved.

But the force could face an unlimited fine if they are found to have breached health and safety laws.

Anthony Grainger, aged 36, was shot by a Greater Manchester Police marksman in March 2012 as part of an operation to arrest suspected armed robbers.

Greater Manchester chief constable Sir Peter Fahy will be charged with a health and safety breach over the shooting.

Alison Saunders, the director of public prosecutions, said: "We have completed our review of the evidence provided by the Independent Police Complaints Commission in relation to the death of Anthony Grainger.

"After careful consideration we have decided that the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, Sir Peter Fahy, should be prosecuted as a corporation sole for failing to discharge a duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

"In addition to every employer's responsibility towards their employees, the law also imposes a duty to ensure that work is carried out in a way that ensures, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons outside of their employment are not exposed to risk.

"The chief officers of police forces are treated as employers for this purpose.

“It is alleged that there were serious deficiencies in the preparation for this operation that unnecessarily exposed individuals to risk."

The first hearing will be on February 10 at Westminster Magistrates' Court.

Prosecutors decided the marksman who killed Mr Grainger should not face charges for murder, manslaughter or misconduct in public office because a jury would be likely to accept that he believed his actions were necessary.

Deputy Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said: "Since Mr Grainger's death 22 months ago, Greater Manchester Police has co-operated fully with the Independent Police Complaints Commission, the Crown Prosecution Service and HM Coroner.

“Our sympathies remain with Mr Grainger's family and we deeply regret the loss that they have suffered.

"Mr Grainger's family, and the officers involved, have had to wait a long time for this decision to be reached and we share the frustrations over those delays.

“However, we understand that it was vitally important that the investigation was carried out thoroughly to establish all the facts.

"Now that a charging decision has been made regarding the force itself, it is equally important that these legal processes are allowed to take their course unimpeded in order to seek a resolution for both the family of Mr Grainger and the force.

"The Independent Police Complaints Commission investigated this matter independently and we await the official publication of their report.”

Mr Grainger was shot dead by officers from Greater Manchester Police after his car was stopped as part of a planned operation.

It later emerged that the father-of-two had earlier been wrongly suspected of stealing a memory stick containing the names of police informants.

He suffered a single gunshot wound in his chest and died. The shot was fired through the windscreen.