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Deaths in custody families call for action

MARCH: The Annual Remembrance Procession for those who have died in State custody, including Smiley Culture (pictured), will start in Trafalgar Square and continue on to Downing Street

FRIENDS AND families of those that have died in the custody figures are to hold a press conference this morning (Oct 26) asking for greater accountability and action.

The media briefing, which is expected to get underway at 11.00am, comes ahead of an annual demonstration outside the Prime Minister’s official residence tomorrow (Oct 27).

The United Families & Friends Campaign (UFFC), a coalition of relatives of young men and women that have died in state custody, are to march to Number 10 Downing Street to demand change in how deaths in custody cases are managed.

UFFC say that more can be done about legislation around investigations into deaths in custody.

The group said that the procession is “of crucial importance that those who have been directly impacted by custodial deaths have the opportunity to express their views in the political arena.”

They say that the event will be an opportunity to find out the current position of families in relation to the existing investigative and judicial framework around custodial deaths.

UFFC is urging everyone to come along to the event to support the cause. A film screening and press conference has also been planned for the following day as part of the two-day campaign.

The screening will include excerpts from the hard-hitting 2012 film, Who Policies The Police?, which critically assesses the Independent Police Complaints Commission’s (IPCC) investigation into custodial deaths.

This will be followed by a number of talks and a Q&A session with the family members of those involved in death in custody cases, including Sean Rigg, Mark Duggan, Mikey Powell, Olaseni Lewis, David Emmanuel (reggae singer Smiley Culture) and Roger Sylvester.

In a long list of demands set out by the group, these three are included:

• Officers and officials directly involved in custody deaths are suspended until investigations are completed.
Prosecutions should automatically follow ‘unlawful killing’ verdicts at Inquests and officers responsible for those deaths should face criminal charges, even if retired.

• National implementation of police body cameras and cameras in all police vehicles in the interests of both the officers and the public.

• There should be an automatic right to non-means tested legal aid for families. There is a lack of funds for family legal representation at inquests.

The Annual Remembrance Procession, now in its 14th year, will start on Trafalgar Square and continue on to Downing Street. It is to commence at the bottom south-east corner of Trafalgar Square on October 27 from 12:30pm.

For more information, please email or telephone 07770 432 439.

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