A conference to mark the 20th anniversary of the United Families & Friends Campaign will take place on 26 October 2018 in London. The conference aims to bring to focus research on the issue of deaths in custody in the UK. The anniversary event will map trajectories of struggles for justice over two decades, highlighting new research and policy directions, as well as offering contextualised and historical understandings of state violence.
West Midlands Police paid £300,000 compensation to the family of a young man who died in custody, it was publicly revealed today. Mikey Powell, 38, tragically died of asphyxiation while in custody after an arrest over a disturbance at his home in Lozells.
During an arrest, the dad-of-three was hit by a police vehicle, sprayed with CS gas, restrained on the ground – while suffering psychosis – and bundled into the back of a police van. Around six minutes later, his body was placed on a mattress in a cell at Thornhill Road station in Handsworth where officers noticed he was not breathing.
Efforts to resuscitate him were made, but he was pronounced dead at City Hospital shortly after. Ten officers were charged with criminal offences after Mikey’s death, but all were cleared of wrongdoing in 2006.
A specialist emergency response unit which offers immediate assessments to suspected mental health sufferers in the West Midlands has been recognised internationally – after counterparts from Australia visited the region to learn about best practice.
The Mental Health Triage scheme sees West Midlands Police officers joined by psychiatric nurses and paramedics to attend calls from people who are believed to be suffering from mental ill health.
The successful police and NHS partnership means patients get on-the-spot assessments at their home or on the street and can be taken to safe health facilities for the support they need rather than held in police custody.