Forces warned over restraining belts on detainees’ heads
originally by: Ch4 News
published: 7 October 2013
The police watchdog issues a warning to officers to stop using restraining belts on detainees’ heads following a man’s death. His family wants to see CCTV footage from the police station.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has written to forces “expressing concern” over the use of the belt in this way. It follows an incident involving a 32-year-old man in Exeter who was restrained in custody and later died.
Thomas Orchard, who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, was arrested on suspicion of a public order offence in Exeter in October 2012, after police were called to a report of a disturbance. He was taken to police station in the city where he became unresponsive while in a cell. He died later in hospital.
The IPCC’s warning was prompted by the discovery that during Mr Orchard’s detention by Devon and Cornwall police, a seven-inch wide “emergency response belt” was placed on or around his face in order to stop him spitting or biting, Channel 4 News understands.