Theresa May today announced plans for an independent review into deaths and serious incidents in police custody, The Independent reports.
The inquiry will look into the events leading up to, and the aftermath of, such incidents, as well as official investigations that follow. It will also look at the use of restraint by officers and the experience of the families of victims.
The announcement comes hours after statistics released by the Independent Police Complaints Commission showed deaths in or immediately after police custody are at the highest level for five years.
Theresa May said:
'In my time as Home Secretary, I have been struck by the pain and suffering of families still looking for answers, who have encountered not compassion and redress from the authorities, but what they feel as evasiveness and obstruction.
'every single [incident] represents a failure - and has the potential to undermine dramatically the relationship between the public and the police'
Deborah Coles, Co-director of Inquest, said:
'It is too early to tell if this is more about a public relations exercise than a real attempt to bring about effective systemic change and the necessary accountability of police officers.'
Earlier this month J M Moore wrote us a blog critically reviewing the recent Harris report on self-inflicted deaths of young people in prisons in England and Wales.
Click here to watch Janet Alder make a speech about the events surrounding her brother's death in police custody and the subsequent police spying she experienced.