PROCEDURE Death or Serious Injury (DSi) Involving Police Contact. Number: C 3013 Date Published: 10 June 2014

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1 1.0 Summary of Changes This procedure has taken the place of C 3010 Procedure Death Following Police Contact, and should be read by all police officers and police staff. 2.0 What this Procedure is about This procedure explains how Essex Police will implement post incident procedures following an incident where death or serious injury (DSi) has occurred involving police contact. The procedure is intended to provide guidance to following police roles: Custody Staff and Supervisors (initially) following an incident of this nature; FCR Duty Inspector; Critical Incident Inspector or Response & Patrol Inspector who will take initial command of the incident; RPU SIO. Criminal Investigations Department Detective Inspectors; Silver Commander; Professional Standards Department; Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) Serious Crime Directorate; Investigative staff involved in the subsequent management and investigation into the circumstances surrounding a death or serious injury case/occurrence; Post Incident Manager; Other roles as described in the accompanying Procedure document. Essex Police is committed to ensuring that it is open and transparent in how it responds to matters subject of this procedure. This approach will deliver internal and external confidence in how it deals with death or serious injury (DSi) in police custody or following police contact. All deaths following police contact will be dealt with in accordance with: B 0615 Procedure - Sudden and Unnatural Death; - this will detail initial police response, attendance at the scene etc. D 0401 Procedure - Dealing with Critical Incidents; D 0402 Procedure - Post Incident Management. Compliance with this procedure and any governing policy is mandatory. Page 1 of 7

2 3.0 Detail the Procedure A death or serious injury (DSi) in police custody or after contact with the police will always be an extremely sensitive issue, regardless of whether the death/serious injury is attributable to police action or not. See Appendix A for a definition of death and serious injury. All DSI matters must be referred to the IPCC. However, a DSI matter that has already been referred to the IPCC does not have to be referred again unless the IPCC so directs. It is essential that relatives of the person(s) concerned are kept informed of developments, treated with courtesy and consideration and that the public are reassured that an in depth impartial investigation is conducted. The incident will be treated as an unexplained death (see B 0615 Procedure Sudden and Unnatural Death) and or a potential critical incident (see D 0401 Procedure Dealing with Critical Incidents) and it is imperative that the investigation of the circumstances of the death is carried out ethically and to the highest professional standard. Click here to see the principles that underpin investigations into serious incidents. 3.1 HM Coroner In the case of a death full co-operation will be given to HM Coroner who will hold an inquest into the circumstances of the death. The Coroners file will be submitted as detailed in B 0615 Procedure Sudden and Unnatural Death for Response Inspectors (para 4.5.1) and Detective Inspectors (para 4.5.2), or otherwise as directed by the PSD Head of Department. 3.2 Welfare The welfare needs of those involved must be attended to whilst maintaining the accuracy and integrity of the investigation. It should be borne in mind that police officers/police staff may be affected by the incident whether or not they were directly involved. Welfare considerations are the responsibility of the Post Incident Manager (see D 0402 Procedure Post Incident Management) if appointed under this procedure otherwise as arranged through local command. The Police Service has a legal duty of care towards their staff and those affected by the actions of their staff. This procedure is intended to ensure that those responsibilities are appropriately addressed and all involved, regardless of status (public or police) are afforded the same consideration. Page 2 of 7

3 3.3 Categories of Death following Contact with the Police There are four categories covering deaths of members of the public during or following contact with the police, which have been agreed with ACPO, the IPCC and the Police Staff Associations: Category 1 Fatal Road Traffic Incidents Involving the Police All incidents of death of members of the public resulting from road traffic collisions involving the police both where the person who dies is in a vehicle or where they are on foot Category 2 Fatal Shooting Incidents Involving the Police Incidents where death occurs where police fire the fatal shots Category 3 Death in or Following Custody This definition covers the deaths of persons who have been arrested or otherwise detained by the police. It also includes death occurring whilst a person is being arrested or taken into detention. The death may have taken place in police, private or medical premises, in a public place or in a police or other vehicle. Deaths in the following circumstances are amongst those covered by the definition: Where the person dies in or on the way to hospital (or some other medical premises) following or during transfer from police detention; Where the person dies after leaving police detention and there is a link between that detention and death. The Home Office does not define the nature of the link ; Where the person is being detained for the purposes of exercising a power to stop and search; Where the death is of a child or young person detained for their own protection; Where the person is in the care of the police having been detained under the Mental Health Act 1983; Where the person is in police custody having been arrested by officers from a police force in Scotland exercising their powers of detention under section 137(2) of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994; Where the person is in police custody having been arrested under section 3(5) of the Asylum and Immigration Appeals Act 1993; Where the person is in police custody having been served a notice advising them of their detention under powers contained in the Immigration Act 1971; Where the person is a convicted or remanded prisoner held in police cells on behalf of the Prison Service under the Imprisonment (Temporary Provisions) Act Page 3 of 7

4 3.3.4 Category 4 - Deaths During or Following Other Types of Contact with the Police This definition covers circumstances where the person dies during or after some form of contact with the police that did not amount to detention, and there is a link between that contact and death (but for the police involvement, would this person have died?). Examples of such death are: Where the person is actively attempting to evade arrest and the death occurs otherwise than as a result of a road traffic incident; Where there is a siege situation, including where a person shoots himself/herself, or another, whilst police are in attendance; Where a person is present at a demonstration and is struck by a police baton and subsequently dies. This list is not exhaustive and any occasion should be considered appropriately. If there is any doubt, advice should be obtained from the Professional Standards Department without delay (Inc on Call contact info on PSD internal website or via FCR Duty Inspector). 3.4 Deaths Identified as Apparent Suicide Following Release from Custody The IPCC guidance on referrals to the IPCC states: The phrase apparent suicide reflects that a Coroner s verdict will not have been made in these cases. It refers to cases where the circumstances suggest that death was the intended outcome of a self-inflicted act. Where it is identified that an apparent suicide has occurred and it is determined that the death followed release from police custody, consideration should be given to the circumstances to see if they fit the below criteria. If they meet the criteria the death MUST be referred to the IPCC: (a) All apparent suicides which occur within 48 hours following release from police custody should be referred to the IPCC. This would exclude deaths, which occur in a secure setting such as a prison unless they meet any of the criteria outlined in (b); or Page 4 of 7

5 (b) For apparent suicides which occur longer than 48 hours after release, including those following transfer to a prison or other secure setting, if there are concerns regarding a causal link between the apparent suicide and a period of time spent in police custody, then these deaths should be referred to the IPCC. 3.5 Potential Deaths/Serious Injury following Contact by Police If the person is still alive but is in a grave condition and is likely to die then it should be treated as a death and treated in accordance with this procedure. The prognosis of the victim s condition should be obtained from a qualified medical practitioner and should not be the opinion of the police. If a person has suffered serious injury, as defined in paragraph 3.0 above, the same procedure as above should be implemented. 3.6 Adverse Incidents or a near miss case If in the circumstances where a death may/would have occurred except for the intervention of the police, another emergency service or the public, and had death occurred it would have fulfilled the criteria of a death following contact by the police under Home Office Circular 31/2002 then it will be categorised as an adverse incident. Adverse incidents can raise exactly the same family or community concerns as an actual death and must be treated as a local critical incident and an investigation should be immediately conducted by a locally appointed manager and the Professional Standards Department informed accordingly. Form A476 will be completed in all cases and submitted to PSD as soon as practicable. 3.7 Deaths on Police Premises Where a death occurs on police premises whilst the deceased was under the control of the Prison Service or equivalent private contractor or the Immigration and Nationality Department (UK BA), the SIO will contact the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman and the IPCC, who will agree how the investigation will be pursued. 4.0 Equality Impact Assessment The proposals in this procedure would have no potential or actual differential impact on grounds of race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, transgender, disability, age, religion or belief or sexual orientation. Page 5 of 7

6 5.0 Risk Assessment Professional Standards are the core of policing, failure to comply with procedures for the investigation of a death is likely to result in the following: A loss of public confidence; An increase in community tension; Damage to the reputation of Essex Police: Investigating Officers must ensure that an assessment of the above risks is conducted at the earliest opportunity. This will include a comprehensive plan to minimise or reduce any of the identified risks. The manner, in which the Police Service responds to such incidents, and the professional standards applied, are naturally of great interest to the public as well, providing further reason to investigate such matters thoroughly and sensitively. All procedures should be open, transparent and that the integrity of all action is maintained 6.0 Consultation FCR / R&P CJD / LPA Command Federation / H&S Unison / Diversity 7.0 Monitoring and Review The Head of PSD will be responsible for ensuring that investigations are monitored to ensure compliance with this procedure. The Professional Standards Department will undertake the evaluation and analysis of any incidents that fall within the scope of this procedure to ensure that all learning outcomes are implemented across the Force. This procedure will be subject to a review by, or on behalf of, the Head of Professional Standards every year to take account of changes to legislation, case law, Home Office Circulars, IPCC Statutory Guidance and guidance issued by ACPO. Page 6 of 7

7 8.0 Governing Force policy. Related Force policies or related procedures C 3000 Policy Professional Standards H 0200 Policy Pursuit D 0400 Policy Critical Incidents B 0615 Procedure - Sudden and Unnatural Death; D 0401 Procedure Dealing with Critical Incidents D 0402 Procedure Post Incident Management H 0601 Procedure Road Traffic Collisions 9.0 Other source documents, e.g. legislation, Authorised Professional Practice (APP), Force forms, partnership agreements (if applicable) Home Office Circular 13/2002 IPCC Statutory Guidance 2012 and 2013 IPCC Statutory Guidance Statistics 2011/12 IPCC Statutory Guidance Annual Report Deaths in custody CPS Page 7 of 7

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