21st October 2015

Today the Home Secretary announced in a Written Ministerial Statement the scope of the Independent Review into Deaths in Police Custody and the appointment of Dame Elish Angiolini as its chair.

INQUEST welcomes the opportunity to actively advise Dame Angiolini and to facilitate the involvement of families in the review.

Deborah Coles, INQUEST Co-Director said:

“It is fundamental that the review examines why so many recommendations from previous reviews, investigations and inquests have not been acted upon.  To restore confidence in the investigation process, it will need to fully take on board and learn from the experience of bereaved families. It must address the reasons why the current investigation system falls short of their needs and expectations and lead to structural changes that bring about genuine accountability.”

Marcia Rigg-Samuel, the oldest sister of Sean Rigg, said:

“I welcome the Reviewer's commitment to meeting with families. I hope to work with INQUEST to ensure that families are at the heart of this review."

The family of Olaseni Lewis said:

“The family of Olaseni Lewis welcome this review. Olaseni was a voluntary patient at the Royal Bethlem Hospital and died in September 2010 as a result of prolonged restraint involving 11 police officers. Five years on we are still waiting for an Inquest and as a family we continue to feel victimised and traumatised. We hope that all families of those that died in custody will benefit from a full and robust review.”

Notes to editors:

INQUEST and the families and their lawyers have had a number of meetings with the Chair to discuss the scope of the review.See INQUEST response to the announcement of the review by the Home Secretary in July 2015.

INQUEST provides specialist advice and a complex casework service to people bereaved by a death in custody/state detention or involving state agents and works on other cases that also engage article 2 of the ECHR and/or raise wider issues of state and corporate accountability. INQUEST's policy and parliamentary work is informed by its casework and we work to ensure that the collective experiences of bereaved people underpin that work. Its overall aim is to secure an investigative process that treats bereaved families with dignity and respect; ensures accountability and disseminates the lessons learned from the investigation process in order to prevent further deaths.

Please refer to INQUEST the organisation in all capital letters in order to distinguish it from the legal hearing.