FOUR people died across the region following contact with the police, figures have revealed.

The data was compiled by the Independent Office for Police Conduct and the Office of National Statistics, and detailed the number of deaths reported following police contact in the years 2017 and 2018.

The figures show that there were four deaths across West Mercia in that time, of which one was a suicide, and the other three were in the ‘Other’ category, which includes deaths following police contact that were investigated independently by the IOPC, previously the IPCC.

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According to the report: “This category includes deaths in a range of circumstances. The police contact may not have been with the deceased directly, but with a third party. Of the 127 fatalities (nationally) that followed contact with the police about a concern for welfare, 35 people died following a report of a missing person. The police generally did not have direct contact with the deceased in these circumstances.”

Under the Police Reform Act 2002, forces in England and Wales have a statutory duty to refer to the IOPC a death during or following police contact where there is an allegation or indication that police contact, directly or indirectly, contributed to the death. It is not currently know how many, if any, of the deaths took place in Worcestershire.

“Superintendent Rebecca Love, head of professional standards for West Mercia Police said: “The death of anyone following contact with West Mercia Police is, as the public would expect, taken extremely seriously by the force.

"A robust system is in place which ensures that any death in these circumstances is referred to the Independent Office of Police Complaints and a thorough investigation is then carried out.”