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IPCC recommendations after Torquay police custody death

By HEHannahFinch  |  Posted: December 06, 2013

Comments (3)

THE Independent Police Complaints Commission have made nine recommendations about the welfare of detainees after the death of a man in custody at Torquay police station.

Michael Lloyd, 66, a retired Paignton painter and decorator was found dead after suffering a heart attack in his police cell in August last year.

Now, the IPCC has recommended:

*Handovers between shifts must be recorded on CCTV.

*Spy hole checks must not be used to check the welfare of a detainee.

*When a detainee has items obscuring their face they should be asked to remove it in order to be able to conduct a proper welfare check.

*Officers should be fully briefed as to the reasons for attending hospital .

*Custody Sergeants accepting responsibility for a detainee at the start of a new shift must enter the cell of any detainee who is asleep and wake them to ensure their welfare.

*When a detainee is visited and sleeping staff should record how movement is seen.

*All visits to detainees must be recorded on the custody record.

*The custody record should be endorsed when a detainee leaves and returns to their cell.

*Detainees who present as no risk of self harm and disclose angina or asthma should be allowed to keep their medication with them or the custody record should record the reason for refusal.

Police say that they have already amended their working practices earlier this year.

Mr Lloyd was arrested and taken to Torquay Police station on August 4 where he disclosed a number of medical conditions, including diabetes, DVT and a heart condition.

He was taken to Torbay hospital to get medication and returned to the police station at 6.42pm.

Mr Lloyd was found dead in his cell the next morning at 7.50am. The police referred the death to the IPCC the same day.

An inquest was held on Wednesday December 4.

Torbay and South Devon coroner Ian Arrow returned a verdict of natural causes.

A post-mortem found that Mr Lloyd died of of ischemic heart disease.

Independent investigator Garry Jones told the inquest that he believed Mr Lloyd had died of natural causes in a cell with CCTV cameras at 4am, but his death was not discovered until 8am.

During that time he had been regularly observed through a spyhole, with a blanket pulled over his head. Staff had assumed that he was sleeping.

There had been no misconduct or criminal offences by officers, Mr Jones found. But he added: “I did find that the quality of the visits that the staff made after 4am was questionable and staff should be the subject of interventions to remind them of their responsibilities.

Mr Lloyd’s daughter told the inquest: “Obviously the checks when he had the blanket over his head were not done properly. No one went in.

“I found that was quite appalling.”

Devon and Cornwall police has carried out its own investigation and has already implemented a series of procedural changes, Mr Jones said.

Torbay and South Devon coroner Ian Arrow found that Mr Lloyd died of natural causes.

He said: “I am satisfied that the cause of death was medical and that he would have died anyway but it was unfortunate that his death was not identified immediately.”

IPCC Associate Commissioner Tom Milsom said after the hearing: "The initial care that Mr Lloyd received while in custody was not at fault. The IPCC’s investigation did however find a number of areas that Devon and Cornwall Constabulary should seek to improve on in relation to the handover of care and the quality of checks that detainees receive – especially if sleeping and taking medication.

He said that two custody sergeants and four detention officers have received management action in relation to their conduct.

Mr Lloyd was arrested after failing to appear at Hendon Magistrates Court in July 2012. He had been charged with 25 counts of sexual assault on a child, six offences of child rape, three counts of attempted child rape and one count of attempting sexual acts on a child.

Supt Toby Davies said that thoughts are with Michael Lloyd's family and friends.

He said: "We are always keen to learn the lessons from incidents such as this and others nationally. Earlier in the year we amended our working practices to reflect the recommendations made by the IPCC on this particular incident and continue to regularly review our processes to ensure we are providing the highest levels of care to persons within the custody environment.

"Custody staff continue to receive significant levels of training and guidance to identify and respond to detainee welfare needs and in the vast majority of cases we do this very effectively in what can at times be a very difficult and challenging operating environment."

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  • Pingu007  |  December 08 2013, 8:21AM

    These IPPC recommendations are hugely intrusive. Record how someone is sleeping? And then wake them up to "ensure their welfare"? And who exactly is going to determine the health of those detained? I doubt a custody sergeant is suitably medically qualified. This actually smacks of fewer 'human rights' to detainees, rather than best practice to ensure well-being. On reflection, probably no bad thing.

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  • BertieBurper  |  December 07 2013, 9:17AM

    Well said Des. The Herald won't agree and as your post breaks no laws it will be removed by them simply for not being left wing enough. The Herald love to give you half the story, and half the public opinion.

    Rate   3
  • BrixhamDes  |  December 07 2013, 9:12AM

    I believe justice was done in this case, shame it doesn't happen to Perverts more often.

    Rate   2