National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for Custody, ACC Nev Kemp, said:
“Any death after police custody it is a tragedy so it is very concerning to see a rise in deaths in the past year. It is important that we don’t jump to conclusions as the numbers of deaths following police contact are very small and do fluctuate year on year. We will be looking very closely at the findings from the Independent Office of Police Conduct’s (IOPC) investigations once completed to see what can be learnt.
“As these figures demonstrate, many of those often brought into police custody have complex mental health needs and there is a high incidence of substance misuse. We have provided advice to officers to help them identify signs someone is becoming ill and take action. Further work is underway to improve risk assessment and training for custody officers. We are also working closely with an independent panel examining alternatives to using restraint. We strive to make custody as safe as possible for the hundreds of thousands of people every year who need to be detained and for our officers and staff dealing with them.”
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