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IPCC launches major consultation on the way it investigates deaths during and after contact with police

The IPCC has launched a consultation on the way it investigates deaths during and after contact with police. The IPCC is consulting on a number of issues including how the IPCC investigates:

  • deaths in police custody;
  • deaths during or following police contact;
  • road traffic fatalities;
  • fatal shootings;
  • apparent suicides following police contact; and
  • other deaths following police contact.

The focus of the IPCC’s consultation is on deaths where Article 2 ECHR is engaged and where any investigation by the IPCC therefore forms part of the State’s discharge of its investigative obligation under Article 2.

The consultation is said to have been launched following concerns raised about IPCC investigations into deaths, some of which the IPCC say are the result of limitations to its powers or resources.

One of the more controversial questions that the consultation will consider is whether the IPCC should have the power to compel witnesses (police or civilian) to attend for interview or to answer questions in non-criminal investigations. This has been a concern of IPCC for some time – its evidence in Saunders & Tucker v IPCC [2008] EWHC 2372 (Admin) (recorded at [56]) was that it had asked the government to introduce legislation to give IPCC investigators the power to compel witnesses to give evidence.

The consultation ends on 11 January 2013 and the IPCC and is seeking feedback from organisations or individuals affected by the IPCC’s work.