APCC Response to IPCC Report on Deaths Following or During Police Contact
In response to the publication of the report on the 25th July 2017 by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, Dame Vera Baird QC, Deputy Lead of the APCC Portfolio Group on Transparency & Integrity made the following statement:
“As the APCC Deputy Lead on Transparency & Integrity, I welcome the publication of today’s report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission on deaths during or following police custody.
“Regarding the report’s findings, I am concerned regarding the increase for the third consecutive year in road traffic incidents, as well as the increase in fatal shootings – 6 recorded in 2016/17 compared to 3 in 2015/16. As PCCs, we will continue with our function to hold local forces to account, and will pay close attention to the findings of IPCC reports when a death during or following police contact has occurred.
“As for the increase in the number of ‘other’ deaths following police contact, we acknowledge that – as the report states – this is in part due to the IPCC having increased its capacity to conduct investigations. We welcome the IPCC having increased its capacity, as this will ensure that the Commission is better able to investigate serious cases, so that necessary action can be taken in future to prevent similar deaths from occurring.”
Meanwhile, Matthew Scott, Deputy Lead of the APCC Portfolio Group on Mental Health & Custody, made the following statement:
“As the Deputy Lead on Mental Health & Custody, I welcome cautiously the second consecutive reduction in recorded suicides following police custody, decreasing to 55 in 2016/17 from 60 in 2015/16. Whilst it is concerning that this still remains higher than the average before 2012/13, I acknowledge that as this report states, this increase could be influenced by improved identification of cases by officers and police staff.
“In order to drive further reductions, as PCCs we must continue to make issues relating to mental health a central part of our Police & Crime Plans, so that officers in our Force areas know what action to take to prevent those who have been held in police custody from taking their own lives. There needs to be renewed emphasis by health commissioners on investment in suicide prevention, to help people living with mental health conditions and hopefully stop a tragedy from occurring.”