Three deaths following contact with South Yorkshire Police last year

South Yorkshire Police Stock Image
South Yorkshire Police Stock Image

Three people died following contact with South Yorkshire Police last year, new figures have revealed.

The force said one case is currently under investigation by police watchdog the IPCC, while the other two cases in 2015/16 found no evidence of officer wrongdoing or misconduct.

One of the deaths was described by the IPCC as ‘an apparent suicide following custody’, with the two others involving a death ‘following police contact’ that resulted in an independent investigation by the watchdog being carried out.

Det Supt Dave Barraclough, from South Yorkshire Police, said: “Of the three cases referred to by the IPCC data in South Yorkshire, all relate to individuals having had recent contact with the force rather than referring to deaths in custody.

“Contact with the force can take many forms – from a phone call through to officers visiting an individual, as well as the more formal arrest and custody procedures.

“One case is subject to an ongoing independent investigation and therefore it would not be appropriate to comment further on this.

“Of the other two cases, the IPCC and local investigations found no evidence of officer wrongdoing or misconduct, nor did they identify any areas of learning.

“Our policy is that any person who comes into contact with the force or enters custody is correctly treated in line with the appropriate guidance and approved national practice.

“In the unfortunate event of a death occurring, we always evaluate the IPCC report to establish if there are any lessons to be learned.”

The IPCC said nationally there had been 14 deaths in or following police custody.

The figure is a decrease on the 17 recorded in the 12 months previously.

There were three fatal police shootings, the second highest figure recorded since 2004/05. All are subject to ongoing IPCC investigations.

There were 21 road traffic deaths, an increase of seven on last year, but the number remains lower compared to figures recorded before 2011/12. Thirteen of the deaths were from police pursuit-related incidents.

There were 60 apparent suicides following police custody, compared to 70 recorded the previous year. This is the lowest figure since 2012/13 but remains higher than figures recorded before that year.

The IPCC also investigated 102 other deaths following contact with the police in a wide range of circumstances, up from 43 the previous year.

A spokesman said: “This reflects a substantial increase in the number of independent investigations the IPCC is carrying out, with additional resources, rather than any definite rise in people dying in such circumstances. This category is dependent on the IPCC conducting an independent investigation.

“As in previous years, mental health and links to drugs or alcohol were common factors among many of those who died.

“Of the 60 apparent suicides, 22 of those who died had been arrested for an alleged sexual offence – 17 of these involved offences against children.”