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New report shows three died after 'contact' with Merseyside Police
Three people died after “contact” with Merseyside Police, a report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission reveals.
The nationwide annual review shows that a general trend of a reduction in these fatalities over the last eight years has continued.
The report records there were 18 police traffic fatalities, two fatal shootings, 15 deaths in or following custody, 39 apparent suicides following release from custody and 47 “other” deaths following police contact.
Two of the three Merseyside fatalities came within the category of “other”.
This covers a wide-range of incidents and includes deaths after police are called to attend a domestic incident; deaths while a person is attempting to evade arrest and deaths when police are helping medical staff restrain individuals not under arrest.
The third local fatality was an apparent suicide following custody.
Dame Anne Owers, chairwoman of the IPCC, said: "It is welcome that there has been a further reduction in deaths during or following police contact this year.
“But every death is an individual and family tragedy, and we need to continue to ensure that the circumstances of each death are robustly examined and any lessons are learnt.
"It must be of concern that around half of those who die in or following police custody, or who apparently take their lives afterwards, are known to have mental health problems.
“This reinforces the need for a coordinated response to protecting and meeting the needs of this vulnerable group.”
The number of UK road traffic fatalities and apparent suicides are the lowest recorded since the commission began work in 2004.
The 15 deaths in or following police custody equals the lowest number recorded during that period in 2008/2009.
The two fatal shootings took place in Greater Manchester and Metropolitan police areas and both are subject of independent investigations.
Of the 18 police road traffic deaths, all were male. The average age of those who died was 34 - three were under 18 and the two youngest were both aged 16.
Of the 15 who died in or following police custody, five were taken ill or identified as being unwell at the point of arrest.
Ten were taken ill or identified as being unwell at a police station or in a police vehicle.
The number of apparent suicides following release from custody fell to 39, down from a peak of 56 during 2008/2009, and according to the report, in a high proportion of these deaths “the person was known to have mental health or substance misuse issues.”
The document shows that in neighbouring Cheshire there was a total of three deaths following police contact, seven people died in Greater Manchester and two in Lancashire.