Investigators are this week piecing together the final moments of a 29-year-old man who died while in custody at Tonbridge police station. Police officers are being interviewed as witnesses.
The man, who has not been named, had been arrested in Maidstone at around 3pm on Friday [October 13] following allegations of a domestic incident on October 1.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission [IPCC] said: “While he was in custody at Tonbridge Police Station, the man collapsed.”
South East Coast Ambulance Service and the air ambulance service were called and medical assistance was provided but at 5.45pm the man was declared dead.
IPCC investigators were deployed to the scene, as is normal and routine in these situations, to carry out post-incident procedures.
The complaints commission added: “Officers have provided accounts of the man’s time in custody, a CCTV trawl has been made of the area where the man was arrested and investigators are assessing video footage recovered from the police station.
“At this stage all officers are being treated as witnesses.”
The deceased’s next of kin have been informed and the IPCC will provide them with updates on the investigation throughout.
Police issued a statement saying: “Kent Police has referred the death of a man in police custody to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
“Whilst the man was in custody at Tonbridge Police Station he suffered a medical incident.
“Medics from Kent Police and paramedics from the South East Coast Ambulance Service attended the man at the scene where he was subsequently pronounced dead at around 5.45pm.”
The identity of the dead man and the cause of death will be revealed when an inquest has been opened – probably within a week or so of the start of the investigation. The inquest will be opened and then formally adjourned.
Nick Hitchens, Press Officer for the IPCC, explained the procedure: “It’s like conducting a police investigation. Our officers go down to the station and examine CCTV footage and interview the relevant people.
“When we are looking for witnesses early on, we don’t want information to be in the public domain because we don’t want to prejudice the memory of witnesses we haven’t yet spoken to.”
He added: “To a certain degree we do ask police forces to minimalise the amount of information they put out. It just blurs the lines if you’ve got different organisations saying different things.”