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IPCC: Police contact deaths “lowest in ten years”

IPCCTHE number of police-related road traffic fatalities and deaths following police custody has fallen to the lowest in ten years, a new report from the Independent Police Complaints Commission has found.

There were 11 deaths in or following police custody in 2013/14 in England and Wales, down from 15 the previous year and less than a third of the 36 recorded in 2004/05 when the IPCC was first set up.

The number of police-related fatal road traffic incidents was also at its lowest over the ten year period – there were 11 fatal police-related RTIs resulting in 12 fatalities in 2013/14. There were 31 fatalities the year before.

The report noted a downward trend in the number of incidents on the roads resulting from police traffic activity – and last year was the first that saw no emergency response related incidents.

And for a second consecutive year there were no fatal shootings by police.

The figures were published in the police watchdog’s annual report into deaths during or following police contact.

The results were welcomed by the IPCC. However, it issued a warning about the high proportion of mental health issues among those who die during or following police contact.

There were 68 apparent suicides following police custody in 2013/14, of which two-thirds were reported to have mental health concerns.

The IPCC is working with the College of Policing on its review of the training and guidance given to officers responding to victims, witnesses and offenders suffering from mental ill health.

IPCC Chair Dame Anne Owers said: “Every loss of life is a tragedy. So, while we welcome the continuing fall in the number of deaths in or following police custody, the high incidence of mental health concerns among those who die during or after custody remains a serious concern.”

She added: “It is clearly important that the police are trained and supported to recognise and deal appropriately with those who are mentally ill. But they cannot do so alone. We welcome the steps being taken to pilot joint working across policing and mental healthcare, and will continue to ensure that the findings of our investigations into these tragic deaths inform better practice and improved service provision.”

Date posted: July 31, 2014

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