Investigation under way into death of man after arrest near St Austell

Published: 21 Jul 2023

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is investigating the detention of a man by Devon & Cornwall Police prior to his death in hospital on Thursday 13 July.

The 34-year-old man was arrested near St Austell at around 10.30 am that day after a report of a car being driven erratically in the area.

We have so far established that the man was handcuffed and taken in the rear of a police van on the 17-mile journey to Newquay police station. At some stage of the journey, we understand the man became unwell and upon arrival at the custody unit, officers administered first aid in the yard of the station. He was taken by ambulance to hospital where he was sadly pronounced dead at around 12.35 pm.

After being notified by the force shortly after the man’s death on 13 July, we sent investigators to the police station and the police post incident procedure to begin our enquiries. We have gathered accounts from the main police officers involved and are reviewing police body worn video footage, along with CCTV from the police station. A post mortem held on Tuesday proved inconclusive and further tests are being carried out. The Coroner has been informed. Examination of the van has taken place and other enquiries are ongoing.

IOPC director David Ford said: “We have spoken to the man’s next of kin to express our sincere condolences and advise them of our investigation. As he was in the custody of Devon & Cornwall Police at the time he became unwell, it is important that we independently examine all the circumstances. Our investigation will consider the man’s arrest, the level of care provided to him during the journey to Newquay and on arrival at the police station, and whether officers acted in accordance with policies and procedures.” 

  • Devon and Cornwall Police
  • Custody and detention
  • Death and serious injury