Vulnerable man dies during police restraint
Compiled from various sources
published: December 2010
Updates on this case listed at the foot of this item
Colin Holt collapsed and died after being restrained by officers at his home. While the initial details of his death were unclear it was understood he left the hospital where he had been sectioned and returned home. Hospital staff had then called the police who entered his flat. Early reports suggested that Colin became unwell when officers attempted to restrain him and was pronounced dead a short time later.
The case was referred to the IPCC and a decision has taken that the case would be independently investigated.
Deborah Coles co-director of INQUEST said; “I am really disturbed at what appears to be another death following the use of restraint it begs very important question about how learning is actually being implemented as a result of previous shocking deaths. The dangers of restraint are all too evident and are now included of all police officer and hospital training but clearly the way in which vulnerable people are treated does not reflect this”.
Institute for Race Relations spokeswoman Harmit Athwal said; “Black people are disproportionately represented within the mental health system but there is also an issue of how they are perceived by the mental health staff and police that they come into contact with.”
Colin’s death is being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, who said he became unwell while officers tried to restrain him. An IPCC spokesman said an ambulance was called but Mr Holt was pronounced dead at the scene a short time later.
Investigators from the police watchdog carried out house-to-house inquiries, examining officers’ initial accounts, checking police logs and scrutinising CCTV footage.
Jackie Maclean a frontline mental health practitioner from the community said; “It is a tragedy that so many are not with us because of what has been done to them when they were in the system, they should not be forgotten and the agencies responsible for their safety should learn from this terrible mistakes.
“We already have the answers in the Bennett Inquiry report among others, we need to see the recommendations put into practice”.
The need to radically overhaul the way mental health services users are treated by the police was highlighted in a 2010 report from the IPCC.,
It included recommendations setting out the case for ending the use of police cells as places of safety for people detained under the Mental Health Act.
Entitled ‘Deaths in or following police custody: An examination of the cases 1998/99 – 2008/09’ this 105 page report sheds light on a disturbing catalogue of failings within the police force that is hitting Britons black communities hardest.
The shocking findings show that 68% of people who died were arrested for non-violent, public order offences such as being drunk and disorderly and drug-related offences.
The report also reveals that black people are significantly more likely to be restrained by an officer than their white counterparts, and that restraint is directly related to death in 16 cases a quarter of which were people from minority communities.
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