Police custody inquest

An inquest into the death of a man who died in police custody is taking place. James Herbert, 25, died at Yeovil Police Station three years ago. He'd been detained in Wells hours earlier under the Mental Health Act.

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Full report: Police custody inquest

by Wesley Smith

The father of a man with mental health problems who died while in custody has criticised the way police dealt with his son on the night he died. Tony Herbert wasn't told of his son's death until hours later.

The coroner at James Herbert's inquest said he's writing to the chief constable to raise a number of concerns. The police told us today, their cells are not the place such patients should be held.

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Police response to inquest's verdict

The police have released the following statement after the James Herbert inquest. In it they said their cells are not the place for patients suffering from mental health problems to be held.

James’ death was a tragedy and our thoughts and sympathies are with his family.

This case reinforces the dangers of legal highs. My officers were faced with a very difficult situation and in challenging circumstances they did their very best to protect James and the wider community.

Police stations are not the most appropriate place of safety for people detained under the Mental Health Act. However, on many occasions it is often the only option available to us.

– Chief Superintendent Nikki Watson

The coroner at the inquest said he's writing to the chief constable to raise a number of concerns. In response the Chief Superintendent said the following:

We have taken note of the coroner’s helpful comments about communication, risk-assessment and places of safety. We will now reflect on how to improve our service in these challenging, but thankfully rare, situations.

– Chief Superintendent Nikki Watson

Jury out in police custody death inquest

James Herbert died at Yeovil police station Credit: ITV News Westcountry

The jury in an inquest into the death of a man who died in police custody is continuing its deliberations today. James Herbert, 25, died at Yeovil Police Station three years ago.

He'd been detained in Wells hours earlier under the Mental Health Act. There had been numerous calls to police about his behaviour in the city.

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