This week marks a grim anniversary: one year since the murder of Sarah Everard. The killing by a serving policeman, PC Wayne Couzens, shook the country. But for the families of others that have died at the hands of the police, it was exceptional for another reason: it is one of the few times in England’s history that a policeman has been sentenced for killing a member of the public.
Christopher Alder was an ex-British Army paratrooper, training to become a computer programmer. He had served in the Falklands War and was commended for his work in Northern Ireland.
In the 12 months to December 2021 there were a total of 371 deaths of people in prison, representing the highest annual number of deaths ever recorded, with more than one death a day. This is despite recent reductions in the prison population. There were 4.7 deaths per 1,000 prisoners, also representing the highest ever rate of deaths.
There were 19 deaths in or following police custody last year with 12 of that number of fatalities having been restrained, according to the latest figures from the police watchdog.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct also recorded that there have been 92 other deaths following contact with the police, however deaths are only included in this category when the IOPC has conducted an independent investigation.
The 19 deaths in 2020/21 is a slight increase from last year (18) and is in line with the average figure from the last decade. The charity INQUEST report that since the end of the IOPC statistics reporting period on March 31, there have been a further five deaths in or following police custody and contact.