IOPC investigation after West Midlands death in custody

Published: 18 Aug 2023

We are investigating the death of a 28-year-old woman in police custody at Oldbury in the West Midlands.

The woman was arrested by West Midlands Police officers in the early hours of 28 July and taken to the Oldbury custody suite where she was detained.

Shortly before midnight that day concerns were raised about a deterioration in her health and an ambulance was called after she became unresponsive in her cell. First aid was provided by paramedics but sadly her death was pronounced a short time later.

Following a mandatory referral by West Midlands Police on 29 July we began an investigation looking at the circumstances of the woman’s contact with police, including the decisions and actions of officers in relation to her arrest and subsequent detention and care in custody.

HM Coroner has been notified and a post-mortem examination was carried out last Friday (11 August). The cause of her death has yet to be determined and we await the results of further tests.

IOPC Regional Director for the West Midlands, Derrick Campbell, said: “Our thoughts are with the woman’s family and friends, and all those affected by her death.

“We have met with her family to explain our role and will keep them updated throughout the investigation.

“Whenever a person dies while in police custody, it’s important that an independent investigation is carried out to fully establish the circumstances, including the actions and decision-making of relevant police officers and police staff, and whether that was in accordance with policy.”

As part of our initial enquiries, our investigators are securing CCTV from the Oldbury custody unit, which will be reviewed along with officers’ body-worn video.

  • West Midlands Police
  • Death and serious injury