IOPC investigates death of women in custody at Tonbridge Police Station

Kent Police

An independent policing body is investigating after a 43-year-old woman died in police custody in Tonbridge.

She was arrested in Tunbridge Wells by Kent Police officers shortly before 8pm on Friday and taken to custody at Tonbridge Police Station.

At around 1pm on Saturday, the woman appeared to be having trouble breathing and was found unresponsive in her cell.

Paramedics were called but despite their best efforts to save her, she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Following a mandatory referral from Kent Police the Independent office for Police Conduct (IOPC) sent investigators to the custody suite and all officers involved provided statements.

IOPC Regional Director Graham Beesley said: “My thoughts are with the woman’s next of kin and all those affected by her death. “We have made contact with her next of kin and explained our role to them.

“It is important we fulfil our role to carry out an independent investigation into all the circumstances surrounding her contact with the police.

“We will examine all the actions and decisions of officers and staff involved in her detention including viewing custody records and CCTV as well as the welfare checks that were made on her during that period.

”Our investigation is in its very early stages.”

A post-mortem examination took place on Sunday which came back inconclusive pending further tests.

The coroner has been informed and a date will be set for an inquest.

A spokesman from Kent Police said: “Kent Police made a mandatory referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) following the death of a woman in custody on Saturday, July 24.

“South East Coast Ambulance Service was called to Tonbridge Police Station shortly before 1pm after the woman, who was in her 40s, was found unresponsive in her cell during a routine welfare check.

“She was pronounced dead at the scene.

“Investigators from the IOPC attended the police station and have commenced an independent investigation into the circumstances.’

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