Thu, 13 Oct 2011

Deaths in custody

Vigil for Sean RiggPublic meeting on black deaths in custody

Date: 6.30 – 9.00pm on Wednesday 2011-10-26 at the LSE

Details and free registration: Black Mental Health

Speakers include:

Letter taped to Downing Street's gates2011 Annual march against custody deaths

Date: 12:30pm on Saturday 2011-10-29 at Trafalgar Square and then to Downing Street

Details: United families and friends campaign, the campaign to end deaths and abuses in custody

The last conviction of a police officer following a death in custody was in 1971. At last year's march, the police refused to let the families deliver a letter to the Prime Minister

The following family campaigns will be attending:

4WardEver UK has detailed information on many of those who died and suffered abuse while in custody.

Independent Custody Visitors (ICV) - MPAVisiting the custody suites of police stations

In addition to supporting family campaigns, another action you can take is to volunteer as an Independent Custody Visitor (ICV). After joining an ICV panel in the borough where you live or work, your role is to make unannounced visits, with another ICV, to the police stations in the borough. During the visits you have chats with all the detainees that accept to see you (in their cells) and ensure that they have been informed of their rights, given the opportunity to talk to a solicitor, let someone know they are detained and have been treated fairly while in the custody suite. You can, and should, also check that the custody suite's CCTVs work, the showers have hot water, there's food available, etc. Any issue raised after a visit is answered by a senior police officer at the next panel meeting and further followed up if needs be. This scheme is statutory and managed by the local police authority, in London by the Metropolitan Police Authority. A limit of this scheme is that its remit is to look at the welfare of detainees only when they are in the custody suite. Having been an ICV for a year, I recommend readers consider applying to become independent custody visitors.

2553 deaths in custodyStatistical analysis of all recorded deaths in state custody from 2000 to 2010

The Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody has published a statistical analysis of all recorded deaths in state custody between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2011, broken down by ethnicity, gender, age and cause of death.

Although, the rest of this post focuses on deaths in police custody, this report covers deaths of persons detained in all types of state custody: in prisons, young offender institutes, police custody, immigration removal centres, approved premises, secure children's homes, secure training centres and also in hospitals when patients died while detained under the Mental Health Act. The report found that:

Update The Independent Police Complaint Commission also published a report Deaths in custody study last August. The research used completed investigations to gather data on all 333 deaths in or following police custody which occurred between 1998/99 and 2008/09.

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