Home Secretary, Theresa May MP, announced a Review into Deaths in Police Custody after official figures from the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) revealed a shocking rise in custody deaths. At McMillan Williams, we welcome the Review and believe it is long overdue, the delay has been inexcusable, as has been the loss of life that has precipitated it.
However, we believe that if it is to make a difference, it must make a real attempt to bring about the accountability of the police, IPCC and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and their co-operation with bereaved families who demand a full and fair investigation into the death of their family members.
The current system suffers from systemic failures which we have witnessed first hand. For example, we represented the family in an Inquest where the police were criticised for a number of failures in locating a missing person before he was found dead and cases in which they have not properly understood mental health issues which we understand is an area of concern and will be within the scope of the Review.
On 30 April, Theresa May announced a major package of measures to reform the way the police use stop and search powers, particularly in their use against Ethnic Minorities. Many of our Lawyers are from Ethnic Minority backgrounds and as an employer we have been recognised for our Diversity, but more importantly we understand that Justice is a Birthright and fully support any reforms which combat inequality.
We hope that the Reforms and the Review will be thorough and comprehensive in getting to the root causes of these failures and make vigorous enquiries into why deaths in custody have risen in the last 5 years.