Written evidence submitted by the IOPC (PCO0045)



IOPC Supplementary Evidence to the Home Affairs Committee inquiry into Police Conduct and Complaints regarding the IOPC Death During or following Police Contact Statistics and the recording of information about restraint and ethnicity.



  1. Further to the oral evidence session on 27 February, in which the Committee asked questions of witnesses regarding the information available from the IOPC about the use of restraint and ethnicity, I am pleased to provide the following clarification to the Committee on the information held by the IOPC.


  1. The IPCC began operation in 2004 and, following its first year, began publishing an annual report on deaths during or following police contact. The IPCC statistics achieved designation as National Statistics from the Office of the National Statistician in May 2013. Since the IOPC began operation in January 2018, we have continued to publish these statistics annually.


  1. As part of this data collection, data on ethnicity and restraint for custody and ‘other deaths following police contact’ cases has always been collected in some format. A full explanation how we record use of force and restraint is available in the guidance document for our statistics.


  1. In 2011, the IPCC published a comprehensive study that analysed ten years of deaths in custody data. This includes analysis of restraint related deaths and demographic information. This study is available from the National Archives website.[1]


  1. From 2016/17 the IPCC started to include information about demographics for use of force within the other deaths following police contact category. Since the 2017/18 report we have clearly stated in both the deaths in custody and the other deaths following police contact chapters of the report the number of use of force deaths by ethnicity.


  1. In recent years we provided descriptions for all the circumstances of custody deaths. Some other deaths following police contact were also provided with descriptions, dependent on the sub-category. However, since 2017/18 we have also been clearer in highlighting ‘other deaths following police contact’ cases that have involved police use of force, and providing a brief description of the circumstances of the case that the use of force occurred in, as opposed to merely summarising the force used for that sub-category.


  1. In 19/20, as well as providing a description for all ‘other deaths following police contact’ cases that involved police use of force, we published a summary slide deck alongside the report that clearly outlines the main figures from this year’s report. This includes figures of use of force. By providing a summary of the statistics outside the main body of the report, this helps to make them clear and accessible to members of the public.


  1. For the last set of published statistics (for the year 2019/20):


          Eight of the 18 people who died in or following police custody had been restrained by the police or others before their deaths. There were nine (out of the 107) ‘other deaths following police contact’ that involved restraint or other use of force. The use of force did not necessarily contribute to the death.

          Of the eight deaths in or following custody where restraint was used, seven involved restraint by police; six of the deceased were White and two were Black.

          Of the nine ‘other contact deaths’, seven involved restraint by the police; one of the deceased was BAME.


  1. The IOPC statistics are available on the IOPC website.[2] A full explanation how we record use of force and restraint is available in the guidance document for our statistics.[3]


  1. In addition, it may be helpful to the Committee to draw attention to the Home Office study undertaken in support of the Angiolini Review, which provided a summary of the published research literature and administrative data on deaths in or following police custody, and apparent suicides following police custody, to support the independent review chaired by the Rt Hon. Dame Elish Angiolini DBE QC.[4] 




Michael Lockwood



February 2021

[1] Layout 1 (nationalarchives.gov.uk)

[2] Annual deaths during or following police contact statistics | Independent Office for Police Conduct

[3] Guidance_IOPC_Annual_Death_Report.pdf (policeconduct.gov.uk)