HC Deb 24 January 2002 vol 378 cc1098-9W
Dr. Kumar

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many deaths in police custody there were in the last year for which figures are available, broken down by force; what is being done to reduce the number of recorded deaths in police custody; what action he will take as a result of responses received to the recent consultation document concerning deaths in police custody; and if he will publish, following the conclusion of the consultation, a list of those who responded to it. [27854]

Mr. Denham

Statistics for deaths in police custody for 2000–01 were published on 29 November 2001. Copies can be found in the Library. The total number of deaths in custody fell from 70 in 1999–2000 to 52 in 2000–01. Police forces are taking a range of actions to reduce the number of deaths. These include safer custody facilities, close circuit television (CCTV) monitoring and an emphasis on better care, assessment and monitoring of detainees. Work is also in hand to develop a national protocol to cover health care professionals working within the custody environment.

The responses received to our recent consultation document concerning the definition of deaths in police custody will be fully considered before changes are introduced. I will publish a list of those who responded.