Death by Cop: UK Figures

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Inaccurate data has been circulating around regarding the number of deaths occurring in UK and U.S. police custody. The figures change dramatically, but it is unfair to point the finger solely at the U.S. by reporting inaccurate figures ascertained from Wikipedia which claim only 52 killings since 1900 in the UK. [1] We all know that Wikipedia is the be all and end all of knowledge (not).deespolice

While indeed the United States have been in the spotlight for the better part of the last two years, the United Kingdom also need to review their police tactics and responses to civilians during arrest and custody procedures. The alarming number of deaths between 1990 and 2012 alone was reported in at 1,433 when PC Harwood made headlines for being found not guilty of manslaughter during an arrest gone wrong. [2] [3]

Of the 1,433 deaths recorded, 950 took place in custody, 317 during police pursuit, 112 as a result of traffic incidents involving police vehicles and 54 from police shootings. An additional 26 deaths occurred in 2014. [4]mike-brown-memorial-protest

It’s important to understand that these alarming figures aren’t solely exclusive to the United States or any other country. The incidence of police related deaths are increasing at an alarming rate in most countries examined. The question isn’t about comparable statistics; it’s about the reason behind the increase across countries, the accountability processes that aren’t in place, and why it’s yet to be dealt with appropriately.


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[1] Retrieved from http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/04/01/1374908/-American-police-killed-more-people-in-March-111-than-in-the-entire-United-Kingdom-since-1900#

[2] Datablog: deaths after police contact or in police custody. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2012/jul/19/deaths-police-custody-data

[3] Davies, C. (2010, December 3). Deaths in police custody since 1998: 333; officers convicted: none. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2010/dec/03/deaths-police-custody-officers-convicted

[4] (2015). Inquest: Working for truth, justice and accountability. Retrieved from http://inquest.gn.apc.org/


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