The Angiolini Review 2017
Report of the Independent Review of Deaths and Serious Incidents in Police Custody.
The Angiolini Review looked at the major issues surrounding deaths and serious incidents in police custody. This included the events leading up to such incidents, as well as existing protocols and procedures designed to minimise the risks. It looked at the immediate aftermath of a death or serious incident, and the various investigations that ensue. Most importantly it examined how the families of the deceased are treated at every stage of the process.
The recommendations pertain significantly to the police, but also to the NHS, Local Authorities, Coroners Investigations, The Health and Safety Executive and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).
The use of restraint is one of the key issues for the review, in particular the convergence of policing with management and treatment of mental health conditions and the exacerbation of risk of death posed by a mental health crisis. Angiolini recognised the role that stereotypes play in shaping the experience and outcome of policing contact for those deemed to pose an exceptional risk. Those experiencing mental health crisis are one such example and those from Black and ethnic minority communities are another. The report acknowledges that issues of stereotyping surrounding risk and threat shape police responses and indeed, this recognition is long overdue.
The report evidently draws from the experiences of the families of those who have died in police custody and their welfare and role in the investigation is central to the report and its recommendations. Unsurprisingly, it finds that the families of those who die in police custody have little faith in the Independent Police Complaints Commission with its independence brought into question by the number of former police officers who act as lead investigators. Further, the perception of a failure in accountability is compounded by unnecessary delays in the process and a lack of information about the investigation.
The reviews 110 recommendations are most importantly aimed at preventing future deaths in police custody, through the appropriate use of restraint techniques and an awareness developed through mandatory and standardised training including a focus on de-escalation particularly in response to those most vulnerable. When death follows police contact, the recommendations focus on expediency of the investigation, relieving the emotional and financial burden on the family and loved ones and ensuring transparency and accountability through the established processes.