Theresa May orders probe into high level of deaths in police custody

According to campaigners, there have been 380 deaths in England and Wales between 2002 and 2012

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The Independent Online

High levels of deaths in police custody are to be investigated by an independent review ordered by Theresa May, the Home Secretary.

According to campaigners, there have been 380 deaths in England and Wales between 2002 and 2012, as well as 290 deaths in “police vehicle incidents”.

There have also been accusations that disproportionate numbers of people from black and minority ethnic communities after arrest have died following the use of force.

The investigation will examine the use of restraint by officers, ways of preventing suicides and the availability of help for suspects with mental health problems.

Ms May said that vulnerable people are all too often taken into custody because there is nowhere else for them to go.

 

She said the review would focus on the “experience of the families of those who have died in custody and the voices of victims of other serious incidents”.

She said: “In my time as Home Secretary, I have been struck by the pain and suffering of families still looking for answers, who have encountered not compassion and redress from the authorities, but what they feel as evasiveness and obstruction.

“I have also heard first-hand the frustration of police officers and staff, whose mission it is to help people but whose training and procedures can end up causing bureaucracy and delay.

“No one – least of all police officers – wants such incidents to happen and I know everyone involved takes steps to avoid them.

“But when such incidents do occur, every single one represents a failure – and has the potential to undermine dramatically the relationship between the public and the police.”

She will announce the review in a speech on the relationship between the public and the police.