Deaths in or following police custody are a controversial area of policing, and they represent some of the most high profile cases handled by the IPCC. They impact on trust and confidence in the police, particularly in Black and minority ethnic communities. The number of deaths in or following police custody is relatively small, but each death represents a tragedy. Despite the high profile nature of this area relatively little research has been conducted into it, or were carried out some time ago.
Forces have a statutory duty to refer all deaths following police contact, including those that occur in or following police custody, to the IPCC. The IPCC reports on these deaths as part of our annual statistics into deaths during or following police contact. This study examines deaths in or following custody over an extensive period in order to identify trends, and, most importantly, the lessons that can be learnt for policy and practice to prevent future tragedies.
The research used completed investigations to gather data on all 333 deaths which occurred between 1998/99 and 2008/09. The study looks at trends in the incidents, and examines a range of themes – the use of restraint, mental health and suicide, alcohol and drugs, risk assessment and medical provision, and investigation and investigations outcomes. The final report makes a series of recommendations for police forces and the health service which aim to improve policy and practice in this area.
Deaths in custody report - August 2011
Deaths in custody Appendix - August 2011
ODS format - Tables and charts for Deaths in custody report - August 2011Table 2.2 of the report was amended in August 2011 following the identification of some anomalies in the force data. Tables A.1, A.2 and A.3 in the Appendix of the report have also been revised.
Additional analysis on misconduct and criminal outcomes - March 2012
In February 2012, the Chief Executive of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) requested that the National Statistician conduct an independent statistical review of the IPCC’s official statistics on deaths during or following police contact after some criticism of the figures in the media.
Following her two-month review, the National Statistician, Jil Matheson concluded that the figures are produced using a rigorous and consistent process and that the criticisms made in the media were unsupported.
Her full report can be downloaded here.
The IAP on Deaths in Custody has produced a comprehensive statistical breakdown of all recorded deaths in state custody between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2010.
This represents an important piece of work for the Panel as this is the first time that all recorded deaths in state custody will be broken down by ethnicity, gender, age and cause of death, and presented together in a single format.
The report found that:
Click here to read the publication - October 2011
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