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Last Updated: Friday, 14 December 2007, 00:01 GMT
'Fall' in deaths involving police
Police accident
Police forces have a statutory duty to inform the IPCC of a death
The number of people who died after coming into contact with the police in England and Wales has fallen, a report by the police watchdog says.

Its report covers people who died in custody, in police shootings or in crashes involving police vehicles.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission said 82 such deaths were recorded between 1 April 2006 and 31 March 2007 compared with 120 in 2006-7.

However, the IPCC found the number of serious injuries had increased.

Independent Police Complaints Commission chairman Nick Hardwick said it was working with the Association of Chief Police Officers on a review of the procedure for police pursuits.

Police related fatalities 2006-7
Armed police officer
Road - police pursuits: 36
Road - cars driving off: 13
Road - pedestrians hit by pursued vehicle: 3
Police shooting deaths: 1
Deaths in police custody: 27
Source: IPCC

Deaths involving police vehicles were categorised by the IPCC.

They include collisions with other vehicles on pursuits or routine patrols, there were 36 such fatalities.

There were a further 13 deaths resulting from a vehicle driving off, and three pedestrians were killed by vehicles being pursued by police.

One man, 41-year-old Robert Haines, was shot by an armed police officer during a bank robbery in New Romney, Kent; in October 2006.

There were 27 deaths in police custody - down from 28 in the previous report - and included an apparent suicide attempt in a police vehicle.

Serious injuries from police related incidents have risen though.

Mr Hardwick said: "Whilst we've seen a significant reduction in the number of fatalities... referrals to the IPCC show that the number of serious injuries arising from road traffic incidents has increased."

Police forces in England and Wales have a statutory duty under the Police Reform Act 2002 to refer all deaths arising from "police contact" to the IPCC, which then decides whether to investigate the death.

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