1. CCTV In Police Vehicles
In order to protect detainees in police vans from police brutality and also safeguard officers from accusations of misconduct, CCTV equipment needs to be fitted in EVERY police vehicle and regularly checked to ensure they are in good working order at all times.
2. Officers To Be Interviewed Under Caution
As standard procedure, all police officers involved in suspicious death in custody cases, should be interviewed immediately under caution in order to avoid collusion. In order to be “effective” in the context of Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, an investigation must be capable of leading to the identification and punishment of those responsible.
3. Suspension of Officers
According to paragraph 5 of the Police Code of Conduct which provides that “officers should be conscientious and diligent in the performance of their duties” - If a complaint against police brutality arises, the officers involved should be suspended immediately, taken off duty until further evidence suggests innocence.
4. Full Accountability of Officers
There is a continuing systemic failure and complacency within a system that has not seen a single successful prosecution of serving police officers since the death of David Oluwale in 1969. It is evident that people are still dying in custody, there have been numerous guilty verdicts of misconduct and criminality of Police officers involved in deaths in custody cases, but injustice still prevails. In order to restore the public's faith in the UK's policing system, officers need to face the same exacting scrutiny and prosecution outcomes as ordinary civilians.
5. Genuine Independent Investigations
When misconduct does occur, it sparks intense community concern and suspicion. Openness and transparency around such misconduct investigations is critical for public trust in the investigative process. In order to be “effective” in the context of Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the investigation must be independent. Jordan v UK, (2003) 37 EHRR - defines independence as the absence of any ‘hierarchical or institutional connection…[between the investigators and those implicated in events]’. The investigators’ independence must also be a practical reality. Ex - police officers turned IPCC investigators in our view cannot been seen as genuinely independent.
6. Places of Safety
People who are picked up in public places by the police in an emergency are highly vulnerable. A police station is never the best place for such people to be kept for as many as three days. As the government has acknowledged, holding someone in a police station can give them the false impression they have committed a crime. Police officers are rarely trained to manage the needs of people in a mental health crisis. Police stations lack the facilities to cater for people who need urgent health care and they can be distressing environments to be kept in. Statistics show that half of people who die in police custody have mental health problems.
We need to see further action in every locality to ensure that better places of safety are made available and that police stations never get used in this way. Concerted local planning to make alternatives available and to ensure officers know where they are is vital to change the way people in acute distress are treated when they are at their most vulnerable.