Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - formerly IPCC)
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IOPC investigating after Swindon death in police custody

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is investigating the circumstances of the death of a man while in police custody in Swindon.

Piotr (also known as Peter) Rak, 37, was arrested by Wiltshire Police at around 1.50am on Saturday 18 May on Fleet Street in Swindon on suspicion of being drunk in charge of his Audi vehicle. Police had attended the location after receiving a call minutes earlier in relation to the Audi. We understand Mr Rak was seen by police getting into the car which was stationary when officers approached. He provided a positive breath test at the scene. 

He was taken to Gablecross Police Station with custody authorised at around 2.45am. Mr Rak was placed on regular observations by staff during his time in custody. Shortly after 8am on Sunday 19 May he was found to be experiencing a medical episode. CPR was started and an ambulance arrived soon after. Emergency helicopter medics also attended. Sadly, Mr Rak was pronounced dead at the police station at 9am on Sunday 18 May.

After being notified by Wiltshire Police on Sunday morning, we sent investigators to the police station and post-incident procedures to begin our enquiries. Our investigation is looking at the circumstances of the arrest, including the decisions and actions taken in relation to Mr Rak’s detention and whether police officers and staff acted in accordance with local and national policies and procedures. 

A post mortem was held on Monday 20 May and further tests are being carried out. The coroner has been informed. 

IOPC regional director Derrick Campbell recently said:

“I send my sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr Rak for their sad loss. We have now met Mr Rak’s family and explained our role and how our investigation will progress. We will be examining police actions in taking Mr Rak into custody and the level of care provided to him over the around 30 hour period he was detained.

“We are independent of the police and it is important that we carry out an investigation to fully establish the circumstances when someone has died in police custody.”

We have begun to gather accounts from officers and staff involved as part of our initial enquiries. We will also be viewing CCTV from the custody suite and body worn video from officers who took part in Mr Rak’s arrest.  


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