Landmark review on deaths in police custody, an opportunity to save lives

Police at 10 Downing Street
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source: INQUEST
published: 30 October 2017

The Independent review of deaths and serious incidents in police custody by Dame Elish Angiolini has been published by the Home Office today. It is the first and only review of policing practises and related processes following police related deaths.

The report offers the government a blueprint for change to urgently implement in the face of numerous recent concerning deaths.

It makes over 100 evidence based recommendations, which are intended to be a pragmatic way forward. These include important recommendations on:

  • Access to justice for families, including through non-means tested legal representation for bereaved families from the earliest point following the death.
  • Strengthening systems and structures of accountability, holding the police to account at an individual and corporate level.
  • National Oversight and learning from deaths, such as through an ‘Office for Article 2 Compliance’ which would monitor and report on recommendations arising from deaths.
  • Improved investigation, including through the phasing out of Ex-police officers as lead investigators within the IPCC.
  • Tackling discrimination, through recognition of the disproportionate number of deaths of BAME people following restraint and the role of institutional racism, both within IPCC investigations and police training.
  • Better treatment of vulnerable people, including through proper resourcing of national healthcare facilities to accommodate and respond to vulnerable people in urgent physical or mental health need coming into contact with the police.
  • An end to delay, in which Article 2 related cases should be dealt with in the same time scales as a civilian homicide case.

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