Definition

In considering any death associated with detention by officials of any state, caused by whatever means, each state will define, according to its own legal system, the situations that are categorized as being "in custody" (1). The worldwide variations in these definitions have caused, and continue to cause, considerable confusion in any discussion of this subject. For the purposes of this chapter, "in custody" relates to any individual who is either under arrest or otherwise under police control and, although similar deaths may occur in prison, in psychiatric wards, or in other situations where people are detained against their will, the deaths specifically associated with police detention form the basis for this chapter.

It is important to distinguish between the different types of custodial deaths because deaths that are related to direct police actions (acts of commission) seem to cause the greatest concern to the family, public, and press. It is also important to remember that police involvement in the detention of individuals

From: Clinical Forensic Medicine: A Physician's Guide, 2nd Edition Edited by: M. M. Stark © Humana Press Inc., Totowa, NJ

extends beyond direct physical contact and includes a "duty of care" to that individual, and "lack of care" may be termed "acts of omission." Lack of police action, or "care," has also been responsible for deaths in custody. These acts are considerably harder to define and perhaps sometimes result from the police being placed in, or assuming, a role of caring (e.g., in states of alcoholic intoxication or acute psychiatric conditions) that is beyond their competence or which they are not equipped or trained to fulfill.

Police involvement with an individual can also include those who are being pursued by the police either on foot or by vehicle, those who have been stopped and are being questioned outside the environment of a police station, and those who have become unwell through natural causes while in contact with or in the custody of the police.

The definitions of "death in custody" are therefore wide, and attempts at simple definitions are fraught with difficulty. Any definition will have to cover a multitude of variable factors, in various circumstances and with a variety of individuals. The crucial point is that the police owe a duty of care to each and every member of the public with whom they have contact, and it is essential that every police officer, whether acting or reacting to events, understands and is aware of the welfare of the individual or individuals with whom he or she is dealing.

Beat The Battle With The Bottle

Beat The Battle With The Bottle

Alcoholism is something that can't be formed in easy terms. Alcoholism as a whole refers to the circumstance whereby there's an obsession in man to keep ingesting beverages with alcohol content which is injurious to health. The circumstance of alcoholism doesn't let the person addicted have any command over ingestion despite being cognizant of the damaging consequences ensuing from it.

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