Independent Police Complaints Commission -
02 Aug 2012
IPCC statement following verdict in the inquest of Sean Rigg
The jury at the inquest of Sean Rigg yesterday (Wednesday, 1 August) returned a narrative verdict at Southwark Coroner’s Court. The jury found that there were missed opportunities and a lack of appropriate care by both the police and the mental health services, and that the level and length of restraint used was unsuitable and unnecessary.
IPCC Commissioner Amerdeep Somal said:
“The death of Sean Rigg at Brixton Police Station on 21 August 2008 was a terrible tragedy for his family and many friends. It is clear from the many tributes to him that he lived a full and active life.
“Mr Rigg’s death is a symptom of a deeper problem: the link between mental illness and deaths in or following police custody. Sadly it remains the case that in 2011/2012, half of the deaths in police custody were of people with mental illness. They represent a particularly vulnerable group, often, as in Mr Rigg’s case, failed by the people and systems that ought to protect them. As the IPCC has repeatedly stated, police stations are not, and cannot be, a ‘place of safety’ for people with mental health problems.
“The IPCC is considering the jury’s narrative verdict and the further evidence which has emerged through the inquest process.
“I have no doubt there are lessons for the IPCC from the investigation into Mr Rigg’s tragic death. His family has demonstrated considerable determination and fortitude in seeking answers to the circumstances of his death and I acknowledge their sense of frustration with the IPCC investigation.
“We will ensure that the IPCC review of deaths which is due to begin in September takes into account the inquest findings and Mr Rigg’s family’s concerns to see what improvements we can make in our practices to ensure a greater level of public confidence in our work in this crucial area.”
Notes to editors:
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