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Police custody death toll higher than officials admit, FoIA shows

The deaths of people forcibly restrained under police custody are more than the official numbers, a FoIA request by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has revealed.

The Independent and TBIJ’s website both report that a number of cases were not included in the IPCC’s official tally of 16 “restraint-related” deaths in the decade to 2009, because the victims had not been officially arrested or detained.

The revelations followed the bureau’s requests for the names behind the 16 restraint-related deaths identified by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) to be revealed. Further examination of the data revealed eight more notorious cases had been omitted.

The Independent stresses that IPCC lists people who have died following “police contact” but cannot say how many are restraint-related. A case study is the death of Simon Bosworth in July 2008, who collapsed while being restrained in his garden. His death was not included in the list of restraint-related deaths because he had not been arrested or detained under mental health legislation.

Deborah Coles, the chief executive of Inquest, which takes up cases of deaths in custody condemned the IPCC’s modus operandi. “I don’t think it’s fulfilling its purpose as a robust independent watchdog for the public and indeed bereaved families to have confidence in,” she said.

MoJ allows insurance lobbyists affect legal reform plans

Documents obtained under Freedom of Information show Robert Wright, head of civil litigation funding and costs at the Ministry of Justice and in charge of legal aid reforms, and his team, have been briefing the Association of British Insurers about their plans on a regular basis. The Guardian’s article quotes Desmond Hudson, the Law Society‘s chief executive, who said: “This looks like being legislation for the insurance industry, by the insurance industry.”

40% of families refuse to donate loved ones’ organs

The Times reports that fewer than one in four patients identified as potential organ donors went on to donate their organs. Freedom of Information requests submitted to the NHS Blood and Transplant revealed that of the total 2,416 families approached to give their consent for the donation of the deceased’s organs in 2010-2011, only 57 per cent agreed to.

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