In the 10 year period between 2002 and 2012 there were over 380 deaths in police custody in England and Wales, as a result of police shootings or following contact with the police, and more than 290 deaths in police vehicle incidents.
INQUEST has identified a number of particular concerns that arise from deaths occurring in police custody:
- deaths which raise issues about standards of care such as deaths due to self injury, alleged drunkenness or drug intoxication, or poor medical care;
- excessive use of force by police officers;
- disproportionate numbers of deaths following the use of force against people from black and minority ethnicity (BME) communities;
- fatal shootings by police officers.
INQUEST has been involved in supporting the families of a high number of people who have died in police custody or following contact with the police, and is continuing to monitor such deaths closely.
‘At the time of the tragedy, I had no idea of what to do or who to turn to. By luck, I found yourselves and contacted you, the rest as we say is history. On behalf of [my brother's] family, friends and myself I would just like to thank you so much for your professional support and advice during that difficult period and without that help, I do not think we would be where we are today.’
– Brother of a man who died in police custody