UK: Annual figures released on deaths following police contact and police use of firearms


There were 200 deaths during or following police contact in England and Wales between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2016, according to the latest figures released by the Independent Police Complaints Commission. There were 21 road traffic fatalities; three fatal police shootings; 14 deaths in or following police custody; 60 apparent suicides following police custody; and "102 other deaths following police contact that were independently investigated by the IPCC."

The figures produced by the IPCC show that while the number of deaths in custody has halved over the last decade (from 28 in 2005/06 to 14 in 2015/16), the number of "apparent suicides following custody" has increased by half, from 40 to 60, although it has dropped from a peak of 70 in 2013/14 and 2014/15. The number of road traffic deaths involving police has also increased to its highest level since 2012/13.

Further statistics and information are available in the IPCC report: Independent Police Complaints Commission, Deaths during or following police contact: Statistics for England and Wales 2015/16 (pdf)

Press coverage:

  • Road deaths involving police increase (BBC News, link): "The number deaths in road incidents involving police in England and Wales rose to 21 in the year to March - 13 of them in pursuits by officers."
  • #BlackLivesMatter comes to UK as police watchdog publishes latest deaths in custody data (RT, link): "Britain’s Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has published the latest data on deaths during or following police contact, just as the Black Lives Matter movement formally launches in the UK."

    Use of firearms

    The Home Office has also published its latest annual statistics on the police's use of firearms in England and Wales:

  • There were a total of 14,753 police firearms operations in the year ending March 2016. This represents a slight increase of 68 (0.5%) police firearms operations when compared with the previous year.
  • In the year ending March 2016, 85% of firearms operations involved Armed Response Vehicles (ARVs), compared with 84% in the previous year.
  • There were seven incidents in which the police discharged firearms in the year ending March 2016, up from six incidents in the previous year.
  • There were 5,639 authorised firearms officers (AFOs) on 31 March 2016; a decrease of eight AFOs when compared with the previous year.

    See: Home Office: Statistical News Release: Police use of firearms statistics, England and Wales, April 2015 to March 2016 (28 July 2016, pdf)

    Official statistics: Police use of firearms statistics, England and Wales: April 2015 to March 2016 (Home Office, link) and Police use of firearms statistics, England and Wales: April 2015 to March 2016: data tables (.ods)
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