Deaths in police detention of adults with mental health conditions: how can we ensure lessons are learned?
In February 2015 the Equality and Human Rights Commission (the Commission) published the results of its inquiry into non-natural deaths of adults with mental health conditions detained in police custody, prisons and psychiatric hospitals. Our inquiry found that repeated basic errors, a failure to learn lessons and a lack of rigorous systems and procedures have contributed to the non-natural deaths of hundreds of people with mental health conditions detained in these settings. This comment piece focuses on two significant areas from our inquiry where improvements need to be made in relation to non-natural deaths of adults with mental health conditions in police detention, based on compliance with Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The first key area relates to recording and reducing the use of restraint against people with mental health conditions. The second key area is ensuring that lessons are learned from every non-natural death in police custody to prevent future deaths.