Essex

Raymond Knight: Essex Police told to improve cell CCTV after man's death

Grays Police Station Image copyright Google
Image caption Raymond Knight collapsed at Grays Police Station

No CCTV coverage inside holding cells at a police station has been criticised after a suspected drug dealer's death.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigated after Raymond Knight, 55, of West Thurrock, died in November 2017.

The holding area CCTV camera at Grays Police Station did not view individual cells like the one in which Mr Knight became ill, investigators found.

Essex Police said they took the welfare of detainees extremely seriously.

In October 2017, the force said it was planning to improve CCTV coverage.

An inquest jury in April concluded Mr Knight, of Western Avenue, West Thurrock, died from cocaine toxicity.

A bag with traces of cocaine was found in his coat at the time of Mr Knight's arrest and a quantity of the drug in his Ford Ka, jurors heard.

After he had complained of feeling unwell in his cell he was treated by paramedics before being taken to Basildon Hospital, where he died.

In a statement following Mr Knight's inquest, Coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray said it was essential to see what was happening inside occupied holding cells.

Following its investigation, the IOPC told Essex Police to "ensure that there is comprehensive CCTV coverage of all holding cells in Essex Police custody suites".

Essex Police said in a statement: "While people are in our custody we routinely check on their health and ensure anyone in need of medical assistance receives the appropriate care and attention."

The force pledged to take the IOPC recommendations seriously and "give full and appropriate consideration on how to address them".

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