all credits: BBC News
published: 11 October 2019
A police force has vowed to make improvements after a man took heroin in his cell and died. Leroy Junior Medford was being watched at a police station in Reading in April 2017, after he was suspected of concealing drugs internally.
At an inquest this year, the coroner said police should have “done more”. In a report to the coroner, Thames Valley Police said a number of changes have been made and a comprehensive review has been launched.
Medford, 43, had been searched twice by police and taken to hospital for a scan to check for drugs. Two officers were tasked with “constant supervision” of the father-of-eight in his cell. They had not seen him removing a package from his trousers and swallowing it, which was shown on CCTV.
The report follows a letter from the coroner in July which required a response on what improvements can be made.
It says the number of officers on cell watch has now increased from two to three to allow them to “take adequate breaks for the required level of concentration”.
Officers on cell watch will also get a specific briefing from the custody sergeant. They will also be required to watch a video on best practice, the report added.
Thames Valley Police said it had “taken significant learning from the death of Mr Medford and sought to make improvements in a number of areas, to try and ensure a similar death is prevented in the future”.