Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - formerly IPCC)
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South Wales Police used reasonable force in detaining man in Llantrisant

South Wales Police officers used reasonable force to detain Jon James in Llantrisant prior to his later death in hospital, an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has found.

Police had been called to Preston Close in Llantrisant at around 1.25am on June 24 2017 following reports of a man shouting for help and behaving erratically in the street.

When two police constables initially approached Mr James, he jumped down from a car roof and ran off but was apprehended in a nearby garden. The officers attempted to reassure Mr James but a violent struggle ensued lasting up to 20 minutes before he was restrained. During the incident officers used distraction strikes and pain compliance techniques in an effort to bring Mr James safely under control.

Soon after being detained, Mr James became unresponsive at the scene and more officers gave CPR before the arrival of paramedics. Mr James sadly died at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital three days later.

The IOPC investigation took account of statements from the officers and paramedics involved, as well as a number of witness accounts from members of the public. Policies on use of force were examined.

At an inquest at Pontypridd Coroner’s Court last week (23 January) a jury gave a narrative conclusion. Cause of death was recorded as: hypoxic/ischaemic brain damage; and cardiac arrest during restraint of a man suffering acute behavioural disturbance associated with long-term use of cocaine and anabolic steroids, and recent use of cocaine.

Director for Wales Catrin Evans yesterday said:

“I again send our condolences to the family and friends of Mr James for their sad loss. Our investigation found that the officers’ decision to restrain Mr James for his own safety, and that of the public, was appropriate. They initially attempted to verbally reassure him but he quickly made off. Their subsequent use of a variety of force techniques during a prolonged struggle was proportionate and necessary.

“We are grateful for the assistance to our independent investigation from members of the public for their eye-witness statements, and the full and timely accounts given by the two main officers following a highly traumatic event for all concerned.”

South Wales Police had received two earlier reports concerning Mr James on 23 June 2017 – one over damage to property, and one after a road traffic collision. On both occasions Mr James had left before police officers attended.

The investigation was concluded in February 2018 but issuing our findings has awaited the inquest.


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