In the UK, every prosecution over a death in police custody in the past 15 years ended with acquittal

The Royal Courts of Justicesource: QUARTZ News
published: 1 November 2017

The British government long-awaited report on deaths in police custody is out, and it makes for uncomfortable reading (pdf).

The report notes that every prosecution over a death in custody in the past 15 years has ended in acquittal. “In fact, there has never been a successful prosecution for manslaughter in this context,” it says. “It goes to the heart of why families so often feel let down by the system.”

Prime minister Theresa May ordered an independent review in deaths in police custody in 2015, while she was home secretary. She did so after meeting with bereaved families who felt justice was not being served, following a number of high-profile deaths involving the police.

A spokesperson for the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), the watchdog that oversees these cases, tells Quartz that while they’re not aware of any successful conviction of a police officer over a death in custody for manslaughter, “there are a small number of cases where officers have been convicted of ‘misconduct in public office.’”

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