In 2015, 30 people died in police custody and a further 256 died in prisons in England and Wales. In the hope of bringing industry together to discuss potential solutions, on 28th June, Capita hosted the ‘Preventing Deaths in Police Care’ Conference at Hallam Conference Centre, in London. Over 16 constabularies attended from across the UK and abroad, including specialists from the NHS and various mental health organisations.
It was an intimate event, with all attendees and speakers passionate about eradicating deaths in custody, each dedicated to improving detainee well-being. It was encouraging to see such like mindedness and a dedication to one cause, as well as the many positive reactions to the Oxecam technology as a potential technology health monitoring solution, for use in police custody.
With Police Forces constantly looking for innovative solutions and ideas, the conference served as an excellent place to enable people to explore our pioneering technology.
Conference speakers and topics
The conferences hosted insightful expert speakers across a range of important topics, including Professor Swaran Singh, the Commissioner of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, and Chris Bath, the Chief Executive of the National Appropriate Adults Network.
Key insights from the speakers were captured by Police Oracle’s Helena Hickey, who reported the passionate explanation that deaths in custody can be reduced by gaining a better understanding of mental health from Matilda Macattram, Chief Executive of Black Mental Health UK. Alongside this, Helena reiterated Dame Anne Owers’s (Chair of IPCC), concerns that deaths in custody will not improve unless there is investment outside the criminal justice system.
The implications of a death in custody
Above all, a death in custody is a tragedy for the individual and their family. However, a death in custody also places a huge amount of stress on individual Detention Officers, reducing the morale of the Police Force. One Custody Lead at a UK Police Force said a death in custody can negatively affect a Police Force’s morale and effectiveness for “five or more years”. In addition, death in custody enquiries are incredibly costly for the public and take up a lot of the Police Force’s time. Conferences like this allow the Police Force to find affordable and safe solutions to a continuous issue.
Oxehealth: Gaining interest
Throughout the conference, the Oxehealth exhibit received interest from a range of Police Forces. The Oxecam software and technology supports Designated Detention Officers by providing extended and remote camera-based health monitoring, providing safer custody for detainees, at a low cost, and alerting staff to intervene between scheduled checks if the detainee is at risk.
Oxehealth technology has come through a tendered technology proof of concept at the Metropolitan Police and a first phase proof of concept at Broadmoor Psychiatric Hospital, as reported by Police Oracle recently. The technology is comparably accurate to contact medical devices and has been clinically validated at John Radcliffe Hospital. Now moving to pilot deployments with mass commercial product expected next year, we expect momentum to grow quickly in this setting.
In addition, our Secure Room Oxecam software is now open to forces who would like to be considered as a UK pilot site – we hope to see the first commercial deployments in custody suites across the UK soon.
To view how our technology solution will help improve the wellbeing of detainees, you can view our demonstration video here: