Essex

Essex Police arrested man's death sparks sex case suicide alert

Essex Police car
Image caption Essex Police has reviewed its procedures after the investigation by the IOPC

A police force will review how it assesses the suicide risk of people under suspicion of child sex offences.

It follows the death of a man in March 2018 two days after he was due to answer police bail over possession of indecent images.

Upon arrest he had told Essex Police he would kill himself but was found not to be at imminent risk of self-harm after a psychiatric assessment.

Essex Police has been approached for comment.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct said procedures and guidance had been followed but said "areas of learning" had been highlighted.

'Trigger dates' awareness

It suggested Essex Police reinforced to officers the risk of potential child sex offenders taking their own life in the first 48 hours after police contact.

"Essex Police may also wish to consider whether guidance on trigger dates such as charging and court appearances should be integrated into local procedures to increase officers' awareness," it added.

The National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) highlighted in 2016 that people in the criminal justice system, and in particular suspected child sex offenders, were an at-risk group.

The IOPC said Essex Police would review its procedures governing suicide risk management, proposals it considered "appropriate", and highlight the NPCC guidance to relevant staff.

The man was arrested in January 2018 on suspicion of being in possession of indecent images of children.

He said he would kill himself while officers were at his home, and after psychiatric assessment at the police station, he was released the following day.

The suspect did not answer bail in March, with his solicitor saying he had been told his client could not afford the cost of the journey.

Two days later the man was found dead at home by his family.

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