Investigation concludes following conclusion of inquest into the death of a man

Published: 28 Jun 2022

An Independent Office for Police Conduct investigation into the death of a man who died following police contact found that officers acted in line with procedures and did all they could to help save his life.

An inquest which concluded on Friday (24 June) determined Ronald Robinson died as a result of misadventure. 

We received a referral from Lancashire Police following the incident on 11 March 2021 in Blackpool in which Mr Robinson, 57, died. 

Our investigation, which concluded in August 2021 following a mandatory referral from the force, found no evidence to suggest that Lancashire Police officers may have caused or contributed to Mr Robinson’s death. 

On 11 March 2021, Lancashire Police officers followed a vehicle in Knowle Avenue at around 5.30pm. The officers who were on mobile patrol stopped the vehicle and after detaining Mr Robinson, a brief struggle ensued with the 57-year-old then swallowing a package. 

Almost immediately after swallowing the package, Mr Robinson became unresponsive. The officers responded by requesting an ambulance, removing his handcuffs and provided medical assistance through chest compressions, the use of a defibrillator, and an oxygen mask. 

But despite their efforts, the 57-year-old was sadly pronounced dead a short time later in Blackpool Victoria Hospital. 

The consultant pathologist concluded that the cause of death was acute upper airways obstruction caused by the package becoming lodged in Mr Robinson’s airway. 

Following the incident, IOPC investigators attended and conducted a detailed examination of the scene. During the investigation, we obtained witness statements from police officers and dashboard camera footage from the police vehicle. We also issued a witness appeal, obtained accounts from members of the public and analysed information contained in toxicology and forensic reports.  

IOPC Regional Director Catherine Bates said: “This was a tragic incident in which a man lost his life and our thoughts remain with his family, friends and all those affected. 

“It is our role to investigate all the circumstances surrounding the death of someone who dies following or during contact with the police and in this case we found officers responded swiftly to a distressing situation and made significant efforts to save Mr Robinson once it became clear he was unwell. 

“We found the officers’ actions and decisions were in line with their training, policies and procedures. 

“Evidence gathered during our investigation was shared with the Coroner to help inform the inquest into Mr Robinson’s death, and hopefully helped to answer any outstanding questions his family may have had.”

  • Lancashire Constabulary