Deaths During or Following Police Custody

The Independent Office for Police Conduct has today published its latest report on Deaths During or Following Police Custody or Contact, for 2021/22.  This is an annual reporting mechanism and it covers situations where people died during arrest or detention by the police, as well as deaths which occurred after contact with the police had ended.

The highlights from this report are –

  • 19 deaths in or following police custody
  • 54 apparent suicides following police custody
  • 25 fatal road collisions
  • 1 fatal police shooting
  • 92 other deaths following police contact, independently investigated by the IOPC

Mental health receives a number of mentions within the report and three of the 19 deaths in or following custody involved use of s136 Mental Health Act (MHA).  In two cases, men died in hospital after being removed there as a Place of Safety, neither had been detained in a police custody area.  In the third case, a man was arrested for an offence and taken to custody but then detained under s136 MHA and removed to a mental health unit, which in turn requested he be transported to A&E for medical assessment.  For reasons not explained (on p18 of the report), he was then left there by officers and subsequently died on a train track, having left the hospital.

Of the 54 supposed suicides after police custody, two thirds of those people (38 in total) had known mental health concerns and all suicides took palce within two days of release, over half happened within one day of release.  Three of those people had been detained by the police under s136 MHA, albeit I must assume not further detained under the MHA by mental health services following their statutory assessment.

If you are interested in the figures for a particular police force, broken down by the categories in the bullet points, above, see page 38 of the report.

If you are interested in previous reports from the IOPC or its predecessor organisation the Independent Police Complaints Commission, you can find them here –

Winner of the President’s Medal,
the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

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All views expressed are my own – they do not represent the views of any organisation.
(c) Michael Brown, 2022

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