Michael Lloyd custody death prompts police changes

Torquay Police Station Michael Lloyd was found dead in his cell when officers went to wake him

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A custody death has resulted in changes to the way a police force looks after detainees.

Michael Lloyd, 66, was found dead in a Torquay police station cell in August 2012. A post-mortem examination found he died from natural causes.

Recommendations by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) have now been put in place by Devon and Cornwall Police.

These include not using spy holes to check on the welfare of a detainee.

The watchdog said Mr Lloyd, of Victoria Street, Paignton, was arrested by Devon and Cornwall Police on 4 August after failing to appear at Hendon Magistrates' Court in north London.

'Seek to improve'


  • Detainees with angina or asthma should be allowed to keep their sprays/pumps if they present no risk of self harm
  • If refused, the reason should be recorded in the custody record
  • Shift handovers to be recorded on CCTV
  • Spy hole checks not to be used to check the welfare of a detainee
  • Custody sergeants starting a new shift must wake a sleeping detainee
  • If a blanket or other item obscures a detainees face they should be asked to remove it

When he was taken into custody at Torquay police station, Mr Lloyd disclosed a number of medical conditions, including a heart condition, diabetes and deep vein thrombosis, so he was taken to the local hospital for medication.

He was brought back to the police station in the early evening and found dead in his cell the following morning.

Post-mortem tests found that Mr Lloyd died from heart disease, and an inquest into his death returned a verdict of natural causes.

"The initial care that Mr Lloyd received while in custody was not at fault," IPCC associate commissioner Tom Milsom said.

"The IPCC's investigation did however find a number of areas that Devon and Cornwall Constabulary should seek to improve on in relation to the handover of care between teams and the quality of checks that detainees receive - especially if sleeping and taking medication."

Supt Toby Davies said the force was "keen to learn the lessons" from Mr Lloyd's death.

"Clearly this was a tragic incident and our thoughts are still very much with Michael Lloyd's family and friends over this difficult period," he said.

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