"Near Misses" Investigation Commissioned By IPCC

Police Custody Injury Investigation


A report produced by forensic medical examiners has suggested that more than 1000 people are involved in incident that involve serious illness or self-harm each year whilst in police custody.

After studying the Met Police for a year and estimating the overall data for England and Wales the study was published by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

Known as "near misses", the incidents included medical conditions, self harm and drug use. It also said that police action often saved lives but in order to avoid near misses forces should improve.

The report highlights that if an officer had not intervened an estimated 400 of the 1,000 incidents would probably have resulted in death.

Suicide and self-harm account for nearly half of all near misses, drugs accounted for a third, almost a quarter came down to medical conditions and alcohol was connected to 7%.

During the study period there were 28 deaths in custody throughout England and Wales.

David Urpeth, a Partner at law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "Deaths in prison continue to be of considerable concern. This report shows that in addition to deaths in custody, there are many "near misses". Those in custody must have their life protected. It is totally unacceptable to see a continual stream of deaths of prisoners.

"I regularly act for inmates who have sustained injury whilst kept in custody."