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INQUEST RESPONSE TO PUBLICATION OF HOME AFFAIRS COMMITTEE INQUIRY REPORT INTO THE IPCC
1 February 2013
The Home Affairs Committee has published the report of its inquiry into the Independent Police Complains Commission (IPCC). INQUEST submitted written evidence to the Committee and its co-director Deborah Coles gave oral evidence to the Committee in October 2012 alongside Marcia Rigg.
In response to the report, Deborah Coles, co-director of INQUEST said:
“We welcome this timely report and the Committee’s findings that reflect many of our concerns and those of bereaved families.
“The report sends a final warning to the IPCC about the urgent need for fundamental change in its culture and approach.
“The IPCC systematically fails to hold the police to account for wrongdoing and, as the Committee acknowledged, there is no statutory requirement for police forces to implement IPCC recommendations anyway.
“The importance of robust oversight of policing cannot be underestimated. It is alarming how many people die in police custody in tragically similar circumstances. Until we have robust independent investigations that are capable of holding police to account and ensuring learning is implemented people will continue to die.”
Marcia Rigg, sister of Sean Rigg who died in police custody in 2008, said:
“Our work seeking justice for Sean feels like it has not been in vain and this report shows the urgent need for change and reform so that other families are not failed by the IPCC in the way that we have been. We hope this report breaks the camel’s back.”
INQUEST’s evidence outlined several issues that have arisen from INQUEST’s casework with the families of those who have died in police custody or following police contact, including:
- Failure to treat deaths in custody as potential crimes
- Failure to interview police officers
- Poor quality instructions to experts
- Problems with families’ access to information and disclosure
- Poor treatment and communication with bereaved families
- IPCC media handling and announcements
- Delays to inquests resulting from time taken to complete investigations
- The disproportionate number of deaths in police custody of people from black and minority ethnic (BAME) communities
Notes to editors:
1.The full report is available from the Home Affairs Committee website here
2. The IPCC is currently conducting a review of its handling of investigations into deaths following police contact. INQUEST is making a detailed submission which will be published on our website in due course.
‘I was already working with INQUEST, which is the organisation who monitor deaths in custody, and at one AGM I told the audience that what happened to these people [killed in police custody like Chistopher Alder, Roger Sylvester and many others] could happen to any of us. And then a couple of years later, I was standing in front of them again but now it had happened to my cousin. So my family and me were now “users” of Inquest. It shows you that none of us are immune – here am I, Benjamin Zephaniah, patron of INQUEST and client of INQUEST at the same time.’
– Benjamin Zephaniah