Two deaths after 'contact with police' in Nottinghamshire last year

Two people died in Nottinghamshire last year after what is termed ‘contact with the police’, official statistics have revealed.

By Richard Silverwood
Thursday, 5th August 2021, 6:55 pm
The number of deaths after 'contact with police' include those in custody at station cells.
The number of deaths after 'contact with police' include those in custody at station cells.

One of the deaths was from a road traffic accident involving the force, while the other was an apparent suicide immediately after being released from police custody.

The figures, which have been released by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), refer to people who were being overseen by or were in the company of officers during investigations, including in custody.

Across the 43 forces of England and Wales, there were 191 deaths after police contact last year, 15 fewer than the previous year, while there have now been 47 deaths after contact with police in Nottinghamshire since 2004.

An officer checks the cells at a police station.

A spokesperson for the Nottinghamshire force said: “Every death of someone in police custody or following contact with us is a tragedy. They are fully investigated and scrutinised, and any lessons are learned.

“Thankfully, such incidents are really low, as can be seen from the figures relating to Nottinghamshire. To be clear, it is the force that refers itself to the IOPC, which will then decide if there is any potential for further investigation.

"In the vast majority of cases, including the two in 2020/21, the IOPC has not sought a further investigation and the matters have been left to the force to deal with in the most appropriate way.”

The Home Office stressed that it has a zero-tolerance attitude to deaths in police custody, all of which have “a devastating impact on loved ones”.

A spokesman said: “We are determined to continue to hold organisations to account, provide enhanced training for officers in avoiding the use of force where possible, and improve support for families.”

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The national statistics have not impressed the charity, Inquest, which focuses on state-related deaths, such as those in police custody, immigration detention or mental-health settings.

Deborah Coles, director of Inquest, said: “The figures give the impression that successive governments are willing to accept these deaths.

"The deaths are often caused by dangerous restraint and neglect, or by systemic failures to safeguard intoxicated people or people in a mental-health crisis.

“To prevent further deaths and harm, we must look beyond policing and redirect resources into community-based, specialist services that focus on mental health and welfare.”

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