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Clair Hilder response to the publication of Dame Elish Angiolini’s report into deaths in police custody

Commenting on the report Clair Hilder, Senior Associate in the Civil Liberties team said:

“We welcome the publication of the review (Independent review of deaths and serious incidents in police custody) and the recommendations made, including the call for non-means tested funding for bereaved families so they can be properly engaged in investigations following deaths in police custody. The current system of public funding places too many hurdles in front of families at a time when they are coming to terms with their loss. The onerous requests made upon grief-stricken families by the Legal Aid Agency for financial information can be unnecessary and coming at a such a difficult time, can result in them giving up.

“The report references the importance of collation and dissemination of learning which is key to ensure that lessons really are learnt and more than just lip service is paid to this. As with many of the recommendations, this should apply to all deaths in state detention, not just those in police custody.

“The huge number of recommendations made by the report, 110 in total, shows the scale of the task ahead. It’s important that this opportunity is taken. Yet, coming at a time when police chiefs are warning of a ‘perfect storm’ due to staff shortages and budget cuts, I hope the Angiolini report will not face the same fate as frequent previous reports looking at deaths in state detention, including the 2015 Harris Review on self-inflicted deaths of young people in prison, which saw the government reject 30 of its recommendations.”