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How we investigate deaths

What happens during an investigation

After we have been told about a death in custody, we will put a named investigator in charge of the investigation. They will find out as much as possible about what happened to the person before their death. This includes looking at all the relevant records and policies, together with interviews with relevant staff and prisoners or residents if required. 

NHS England will also commission an independent clinical review of the healthcare given to the person before their death.

At the end of the investigation we’ll share what we have found with the family and related organisations. 

Suspending an investigation

Sometimes the PPO cannot progress an investigation and it has to be suspended. This is usually when the police are investigating whether there has been a crime related to the death. 

The PPO’s investigation will continue once the police investigation and any subsequent court action has been completed. This can sometimes mean the investigation is suspended for many months. Our family liaison officer will stay in touch with the bereaved family during this time.