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.
‘The decision to publish the Cass report is an extraordinary victory for INQUEST… Belatedly, it lifts another layer of camouflage from the secrets, lies and impunity that prevail in large sections of the British state and make such terrible events not merely possible but more likely…What INQUEST, Celia Stubbs and countless others around the world – say, the Mothers and Grandmothers of the Disappeared in Argentina – keep reminding us is not just that the instincts of the powerful are wrong, but that they can also be defeated, however long it may take.’
– David Ransom, friend of Blair Peach and former editor of New Internationalist magazine