IPCC publishes figures on deaths during or following police contact for 2016/17

Published: 24 Jul 2017

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is today publishing its annual report on deaths during or following police contact in 2016/17.

It shows:

  • There were 14 deaths in or following police custody, the same figure as recorded last year, and broadly in line with the average number of such deaths over the last eight years. This has remained at less than half the number recorded when the IPCC was first set up.
  • There were six fatal police shootings, the highest recorded figure since 2004/05. One of these was terrorism-related. Three are subject to ongoing IPCC investigations, and three are completed.
  • There were 32 road traffic fatalities, an increase of 11 on last year, the highest figure recorded in the last eight years. 28 of the deaths were from police pursuit-related incidents, more than double the figure for last year (13).
  • There were 55 apparent suicides following police custody, compared to 60 recorded the previous year. This is the second consecutive yearly decrease and the lowest figure recorded since 2012/13.
  • The IPCC also investigated 124 other deaths following contact with the police in a wide range of circumstances, up from 102 the previous year. This reflects a substantial increase in the number of independent investigations the IPCC is carrying out, with additional resources, rather than any definite rise in people dying in such circumstances. This category is dependent on the IPCC conducting an independent investigation.

As in previous years, mental health and links to drugs or alcohol were common factors among many of those who died:

- Eight of the 14 people who died in or following police custody and almost three-quarters (40) of those who apparently died by suicide after release from custody had mental health concerns.

- 11 people who died in or following police custody and almost half (26) of those who died by apparent suicide following custody had links to drugs and/or alcohol.

  • Of the 124 ‘other deaths’ category, 101 fatalities followed contact with the police, either directly or indirectly, after concerns were raised about someone’s welfare – of these, 26 related to concern for the person’s health, possible injuries, intoxication or general well-being. 21 fatalities followed concern for welfare linked to domestic related incidents – broadly the same proportion as last year.
  • Of the 55 apparent suicides, 29 (53%) of those who died had been arrested for an alleged sexual offence – 26 (47%) of these involved offences against children. These are the highest proportions recorded since 2004/05.