Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Robert Edwards: Another death whilst in police custody !

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has begun an investigation into the death of a man in hospital several days after his detention in a police cell in Bury St Edmunds.

Police were contacted shortly after 8pm on Friday 20 May following reports of a disturbance in Bury St Edmunds. Officers conducted a search, and arrested 55-year-old Robert Edwards, from the town, a short time later on suspicion of assault in connection with an alleged ongoing domestic incident. 

Mr Edwards was taken to the local police station, where a healthcare professional examined him and decided he was fit to remain in police custody and that there were no apparent injuries. Shortly before 2am on Saturday 21 May, he was conveyed by paramedics to West Suffolk Hospital after becoming unconscious in the police cell. He died in hospital on Wednesday 25 May. 

Suffolk Police referred the matter to the IPCC on 21 May. The IPCC has since decided to conduct an independent investigation. Investigators have attended the police station at Bury St Edmunds to begin gathering evidence and to review CCTV footage from the custody suite. The family of Mr Edwards have been informed of the IPCC’s involvement.

IPCC Commissioner Sarah Green said: “My sympathies go out to the friends and family of Mr Edwards at this time. In the circumstances of a man’s death in hospital following a short period of detention in police custody it is appropriate we carry out an independent investigation. We will examine the circumstances of his arrest, the initial risk assessment when Mr Edwards was first brought into custody, and the care he received whilst in custody.”