Inquiry into police suspect's river death

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The Independent Online

An independent inquiry has been launched into whether officers could have done more to safeguard a vulnerable teenage prisoner, a police watchdog said today.

Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) officials were brought in after a man held by the Metropolitan Police apparently committed suicide after his release.



Afghan Mohammed Iqbal Safi, 18, was arrested on suspicion of immigration offences in west London in the early hours of October 30.



He was taken to Fulham Police Station and released two hours later with no further action taken.



About seven hours later police received reports a man had jumped into the River Thames at Savoy Pier, central London.



Mr Safi's body was found on November 18 in the river at Southwark. A post-mortem examination found he drowned.



Rachel Cerfontyne, of the IPCC, said her colleagues will examine the circumstances around Mr Safi's arrest, questioning and release.



She said: "This is a very sad case where a family has lost a loved one and it is right that independent investigation is undertaken to see if there was anything police could have done while Mr Safi was in custody to have avoided this outcome.



"Our investigators will therefore consider a number of factors. This includes if Mr Safi displayed any indications while in custody that he was at risk of self-harm and whether his grasp of English should have warranted the use of specialist provision such as a translation service.



"His time in custody will also be compared to the relevant Met procedures concerning detention and release to ensure they were complied with."