Angiolini review and Government Response: Deaths and Serious Incidents in Police Custody

The Angiolini review is an independent review into serious incidents and deaths in custody, undertaken by Dame Elish Angiolini.

Published in October 2017, the review (pdf) examines the procedures and processes surrounding deaths and serious incidents in police custody.

It makes 110 recommendations for improvement, categorised under twelve headings: restraint, custody environment, health and wellbeing, funding for families and family support, communications, investigations, coroners and inquests, accountability, training, learning, statistics and research.

The Government responded (pdf) in October 2017.

Equality and Human Rights Commission Chief Executive Rebecca Hilsenrath said:

‘The police have a duty to protect the lives of people in detention, the public deserves full confidence in our justice system, and the state must investigate any death for which it might be responsible. Sadly the long-awaited Angiolini Review, which reiterates the findings in our own report on non-natural deaths in detention, proves we’ve got a long way to go before we achieve any of these.’


The Angiolini review was commissioned by then Home Secretary, Theresa May, in October 2015. It had three aims:

  1. To examine the procedures and processes surrounding deaths and serious incidents in police custody, including the lead up to such incidents, the immediate aftermath, through to the conclusion of official investigations. It should consider the extent to which ethnicity is a factor in such incidents. The review should include a particular focus on family involvement and their support experience at all stages
  2. To examine and identify the reasons and obstacles as to why the current investigation system has fallen short of many families’ needs and expectations, with particular reference to the importance of accountability of those involved and sustained learning following such incidents.
  3. To identify areas for improvement and develop recommendations seeking to ensure appropriate, humane institutional treatment when such incidents, particularly deaths in or following detention in police custody, occur. Recommendations should consider the safety and welfare of all those in the police custody environment, including detainees and police officers and staff. The aim should be to enhance the safety of the police custody setting for all.

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