Media Media releases INQUEST responds to sharp increase in deaths involving police 28 July 2023 In the year that saw the high-profile deaths of Chris Kaba and Oladeji Omishore at the hands of the police, official statistics published today reveal the highest number of deaths recorded for five years and an increase of almost double the previous year. The latest annual data from the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) covering 2022/3 shows 23 deaths in or following police custody. This is an increase of 12 from the previous year. All but one were men. Eleven of these 23 people had some use of force against them by the police before their deaths. Three of these included Taser discharge. All but two of the deaths featured links to drugs and/or alcohol and over half (13) of those who died had mental health concerns. Four had been detained under the mental health act. In addition to the custody deaths, there were: three fatal police shootings, including the death of Chris Kaba. 28 fatalities from police-related road traffic incidents, 18 of which were police pursuit-related incidents. 52 apparent suicides following police custody. The IOPC also investigated 90 other deaths following contact with the police in a wide range of circumstances. Six of these ‘other deaths’ involved restraint or use of force by police, one of which included use of Taser. Around two thirds of these 90 cases involved intoxication with drugs or alcohol, and a similar proportion involved mental health concerns. Behind the data are stories of those who have died, and the families left fighting for truth and justice. Most deaths are subject to continued investigations and inquests. These include: Oladeji Omishore, a 41-year-old Black man who fell into the River Thames after being subjected to multiple Taser discharges by a Metropolitan Police Officer and died on 4 June 2022. He was experiencing a mental health crisis. Kaine Fletcher, a 26-year-old mixed-race man, who was subject to restraint by Nottinghamshire police during a mental health crisis and died on 3 July 2022. Godrick Osei, a 35-year-old Black man, who was subject to Devon & Cornwall police restraint during a mental health crisis and died on 3 July 2022. Donald Burgess, a 93-year-old White man with dementia and one leg in a care home, who was Tasered and sprayed with PAVA (pepper spray) and died three weeks later on 13 July 2022. Liam Allan, a 23-year-old White man, who drowned following contact with the Metropolitan police on 27 August 2022. Chris Kaba, a 24-year-old Black man, who was fatally shot by the Metropolitan police on 5 September 2022. Since the end of the reporting period for 2022/3, INQUEST is aware of 11 other deaths during or following police contact (including five road traffic or pursuit incidents). Lucy Mckay, spokesperson for INQUEST, said: “No one should by dying at the hands of police. Yet once again we are seeing an increasing number of deaths. Too often these deaths involve mental illness or intoxication, and dangerous use of force and restraint by police. We know from our work with bereaved families that so many of these deaths are preventable, both at the point of death and long before things reached a crisis point. Inquests and investigations uncover issues of institutional racism, disproportionate use of force, and neglect of people in need of care not custody. Ultimately to prevent further deaths and harm, we must look beyond policing and redirect resources into community, health, welfare and specialist services.” ENDS NOTES TO EDITORSFor further information and interview requests please contact Lucy McKay on 020 7263 1111 or [email protected] See the full report of the IOPC data, which includes further breakdowns on the data. Ethnicity: Of the 23 deaths in or following custody, 19 of the deceased were White, two were Black, one was of Mixed ethnicity and one was Asian, One of the people fatally shot by police was Black [Chris Kaba], Of the 11 deaths in or following custody where there was use of force, eight of the deceased were White, one was Black, one was of Mixed ethnicity and one was Asian, Of the six other contact deaths involving use of force, four people were White and two were Black. INQUEST also publishes rolling statistics on deaths in or following police custody and contact.