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31 October 2017

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Dame Elish Angiolini’s report on deaths in police custody released

The Rt Hon Dame Elish Angiolini DBE QC FRSE’s review into deaths in police custody has been published by the government.

The report makes 110 recommendations to minimise as far as possible the risks of future deaths in custody and ensure that when such deaths do occur that the procedures in place are “efficient, effective, humane and command public confidence.”

The report was commissioned by Theresa May shortly before she became Prime Minister.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd MP said: “This report shines a light on this profoundly important issue and the government thanks Dame Elish Angiolini for her comprehensive review which sets out a clear need for action.

“When my predecessor Theresa May met the bereaved families, she was struck by the difficulties they faced as they sought answers about what happened to their loved ones. This simply isn’t right, and is why the government is taking steps to ensure that families bereaved in this way in future get the support and answers they need.

“The government is committed to tackling this issue, and when tragically deaths in police custody do occur, we are clear that they must be investigated thoroughly and action taken to support families better in future.”

INQUEST said the review was an “opportunity to save lives.”

Their director, Deborah Coles, said: “This seminal report is an indictment of the failing systems of investigation, learning and accountability which follow the long running issue of deaths in police custody. It is a hugely important opportunity to bring about changes that could save lives.  The recommendations extend to the police service, health service and justice systems and are a blueprint for change that would benefit everyone. The value of this report must ultimately be judged by the changes it brings about.

“The vital need for action is revealed by recent restraint related deaths of young black men and vulnerable people with mental ill health who have died in police cells since the report was finalised. We call upon the Government to urgently respond with a programme of action to implement the recommendations in full.”

The full report can be read here.

Press coverage: BBC, Sky, Channel 4, the Times, the Guardian, and the Independent.

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