Investigation under way after man dies in police custody in Sunderland

Published: 05 Dec 2023

The Independent Office for Police conduct (IOPC) is investigating after a man died while in the custody of Northumbria Police.

Daniel Ryan, 50, was taken to Southwick custody suite on 11 November, where he sadly died the following day.

Following a mandatory referral from Northumbria Police, we began an independent investigation to understand the circumstances surrounding Mr Ryan’s death.

We have obtained initial statements from a number of officers and staff who came into contact with Mr Ryan in the days prior to his death. We are also in the process of reviewing a significant amount of footage from the custody suite.

At this time, we understand Mr Ryan was reported as wanted for breach of bail conditions on 4 November. He attended Southwick police station on 5 November, where staff noted he appeared unwell, but later left the station without issue.

Mr Ryan was arrested on 11 November and taken to Southwick custody suite. He was seen by a healthcare professional the same day.

On 12 November, during a routine check, a member of staff called for assistance shortly after 11.40am. Paramedics arrived and Mr Ryan was declared dead at 12.23pm.

IOPC Regional Director Emily Barry said: “Our thoughts are with Mr Ryan’s family and loved ones, as well as all those affected by his death.

“When someone dies in police custody it is important for the circumstances to be thoroughly investigated. Our work will be carried out independently of police and ensure appropriate scrutiny of police interaction with Mr Ryan.

“Our investigation will look at the actions and decision-making of the police staff and officers who came into contact with Mr Ryan. All are being treated as witnesses at this time, although, as with all our investigations, this will remain under review throughout.

“Our findings will be shared with Mr Ryan’s family, Northumbria Police and HM Coroner in due course.”

An inquest was opened and adjourned earlier this month.

  • Northumbria Police
  • Death and serious injury
  • Custody and detention