Investigating deaths in custody

Last year, 31 people died in police custody in England and Wales, with a further 189 deaths occurring in prisons.

Date: 24/04/2012

Last year, 31 people died in police custody in England and Wales, with a further 189 deaths occurring in prisons.*

The serious issues of deaths in custody will be investigated at a panel discussion organised by the Human Rights and Social Justice Research Institute (HRSJ) at London Metropolitan University.

The public event, ‘Investigating Deaths in Custody’ was held at 6pm on Thursday 26 April at London Met’s Holloway campus.

Speakers include Deborah Coles, Co-Director of the charity INQUEST and Leslie Thomas, a barrister at Garden Court Chambers.

Professor Philip Leach (pictured), Director of HRSJ, will chair the discussion. 

He said: “The purpose of this discussion is to explore the ways in which deaths in custody are investigated in this country, including the many problems and gaps in the process that have been identified.

“Both the speakers have extensive, real experience in this area and it’s an excellent opportunity to hear from people who are working on the front line of this important issue.”

About the speakers:

  • Deborah Coles has been a Co-Director of INQUEST, the charity which helps families of those who have died in custody, for 20 years. She is the co-author of ‘In the Care of the State: Child Deaths in Penal Custody in England and Wales’ (2005).  
  • Leslie Thomas has extensive experience of working on deaths in custody cases. He specialises in human rights and public law, with particular emphasis on civil actions against the police and inquests.

*Statistics from INQUEST.