South Shields police station death investigated by IPCC
A man was found dead in a Tyneside police cell less than two hours after he was arrested on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly.
The man, 34, died after being taken to South Shields police station on Friday by Northumbria Police officers.
His death is being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, after "immediate" referral by the force.
The IPCC said any custody death was a "serious matter".
The man was booked into custody at 20:25 GMT and subject to 15 minutes of checks, the IPCC said.
At 22:06 GMT he was found in his cell not breathing.
An ambulance was called but he was pronounced dead at South Tyneside General Hospital.
Chief Superintendent Gary Calvert said: "We take any cases of death in custody very seriously and offer our condolences to this man's friends and family at this difficult time.
"We immediately referred this case to the IPCC as matter of standard practice for the force.
"The IPCC will carry out a full and thorough investigation which we have every confidence that all of our officers acted in accordance to the correct police procedures."
He added that Northumbria Police is fully co-operating with the IPCC's investigation.
IPCC commissioner Nicholas Long said: "Any death in custody is a very serious matter and we will independently investigate to establish exactly what has happened in this case."