A long-awaited unpublished official report into deaths in police custody says families who have lost loved ones have been failed by the system and recommends far-reaching reforms to the police, justice system and health service, the Guardian has learned.
The report, ordered by Theresa May in 2015 while she was home secretary, is yet to be published, prompting warnings from some groups that the government delay risks damaging public confidence.
The report by Dame Elish Angiolini QC will say there should be a ban on those detained under mental health powers being held in police cells, and being transported in police vehicles, except in exceptional cases.
The family of a black man who died after being restrained by police are launching a campaign this week for the officers involved to be suspended pending investigations.
The campaign, to be launched on Thursday by the family of Edson da Costa, comes as the Observer reveals worrying new witness accounts of incidents leading to the deaths of Da Costa and three other black men since June.
The campaign is adding to pressure on the Home Office to publish immediately the results of an independent inquiry into deaths in custody and racial disproportionality amid allegations that the home secretary, Amber Rudd, is sitting on its findings.
Already this summer, four people have died after contact with the police. At least three of them were black men who died following police restraint.
Last Saturday, 20-year-old Rashan Charles lost his life after being pinned to the floor of a convenience store, and restrained by an officer and another person in plain clothes.
These deaths aren’t included in the latest annual report from the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which covers the year ending 31 March 2017. But the deaths of Rashan, Edir Frederico da Costa, Darren Cumberbatch, and a 16-year-old boy, who died in a crash during a police pursuit, recall those who have lost their lives during or following police contact in the months preceding them: Mzee Mohammed, Dalian Atkinson, Mohammed Yassar Yaqub.