19 deaths in or following police custody over last 12 months

police riot shieldall credits: The Justice Gap
published: 30 July 2021

There were 19 deaths in or following police custody last year with 12 of that number of fatalities having been restrained, according to the latest figures from the police watchdog.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct also recorded that there have been 92 other deaths following contact with the police, however deaths are only included in this category when the IOPC has conducted an independent investigation.

The 19 deaths in 2020/21 is a slight increase from last year (18) and is in line with the average figure from the last decade. The charity INQUEST report that since the end of the IOPC statistics reporting period on March 31, there have been a further five deaths in or following police custody and contact.

‘Last year the world responded to the death of George Floyd and mobilised against deaths in police custody and racial injustice,’ said Deborah Coles, director of INQUEST. ‘Yet once again the data on deaths in police custody and contact in England and Wales repeat the same patterns, nothing changes. This is despite the lifesaving recommendations from multiple inquests and the Angiolini review.’

‘The focus of this Government however is denying structural racism and inequality, appearing tough, ignoring evidence and repeating failed policies focused on criminalisation. Ultimately to prevent further deaths and harm, we must look beyond policing and redirect resources into community, health, welfare and specialist services’ Coles continued.

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