original source: The Guardian
published: 3rd December 2010
A total of 333 people have died in or following police custody over the past 11 years, but no officer has ever been successfully prosecuted, according to a watchdog’s report. Prosecutions were recommended against 13 officers based on “relatively strong evidence of misconduct or neglect”, but none resulted in a guilty verdict.
Calling for further research, the Independent Police Complaints Commission said juries were unwilling to convict police officers. Len Jackson, IPCC interim chair, said: “It is clear to us there is some real difficulty in this area.”
The IPCC had a responsibility to investigate and present a file to the CPS “if we feel there are any matters potentially of a criminal nature”, he said. But then it was up to the criminal justice system.
“We have a jury system that is as good as anything in the world, but it is clear that juries quite often find it difficult to convict police officers.”
Only in one case was a civilian member of police staff found guilty of misconduct, and sentenced to six months, the IPCC’s study into deaths in England and Wales between 1998 and 2010 shows.