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:

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Families of men with mental health issues who died in custody welcome new report

Thomas Orchard
Thomas Orchard

source: ITV News
published: 30 October 2017

The families of two men with mental health issues who died in police custody has welcomed a report into how vulnerable people should be treated by emergency services. 32-year-old Thomas Orchard died in police custody in Exeter in 2012 and 25-year-old James Herbert died at Yeovil Police Station seven years ago.

The report into deaths in custody was ordered by Theresa May when she was the Home Secretary. It has stressed mentally ill people should never be held in cells.

Thomas Orchard suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and his family say being held in Exeter’s Heavitree Road Police Station made his condition worse. Before reaching the station Mr Orchard was handcuffed and bundled into a van. Moments before falling unconscious, a restraint was wrapped around his head.

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Seven deaths in West Midlands police custody in the last 12 years

Police Cell Victimssource: Express & Star
published: 20 February 2016

Seven people have died while in police custody across the West Midlands in the last 12 years, figures have revealed. They include five men and two women arrested on suspicion of crimes ranging from driving while unfit through drink or drugs to affray.

Among them was mother-of-four Sharmila Ullah who was being held at Bloxwich Police Station in July 2014 after being arrested for shoplifting.

A coroner concluded there had been some ‘individual failings’ in regards to observations while she was in custody but he was not satisfied they had contributed to her death.

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