Police custody deaths in UK ‘should be treated like murder inquiry’

SWAT Officersource: The Guardian
published: 28 October 2017

Deaths in custody should be investigated with the same urgency as murder inquiries, says a long-awaited report that aims to restore trust in the police.

The report, to be unveiled by home secretary Amber Rudd on Monday following a 15-month delay that angered families of those who died in custody, says agencies such as the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) need to handle deaths following contact with officers with the same haste and mindset as homicides.

Critics say the current approach, where it is not unusual for families to wait for more than five years only to see officers cleared of wrongdoing, can mean that witnesses have trouble recalling events and increases the chance of vital evidence being lost.

The report, which confirms that racial disproportionality exists within the criminal justice system, contains more than 100 recommendations that would profoundly redefine police-community relations if implemented.

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