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Action needed on increasing number of deaths in custody

07 December, 2017

A candlelit vigil for Nuno Cardoso was staged on the Peckwater estate

WHAT happened to Nuno Cardoso in the police car after his arrest?

The death of the university student who grew up on the Peckwater estate has deeply wounded the community in Kentish Town.

The tragedy is particularly acute as the young man had just begun a new chapter in his life and was determined to make his mother proud.

He may have fallen victim to the kind of injustice that drove him toward the legal profession in the first place.

It is in some ways outrageous that Nuno’s family have only been given a vague explanation of a “medical incident” for their son’s death.

Nuno Cardoso

There are many questions and answers may not come for the family for several months as the Independent Police Complaints Commission conducts its investigation.

The family of Rashan Charles, whose death in custody sparked protests in east London, felt their rights had been violated following delays from the authorities.

Relatives of Edson Da Costa, also from east London, who died in a unit following a potentially violent detention by police were also frustrated by similar delays.

Deaths in custody, or deaths following contact with the police, are on the rise in this country. Why?

A long-awaited report, originally commissioned when Theresa May was home secretary in 2015, was finally published in October. It made no fewer than 110 recom­mendations for overhauling the way police deal with vulnerable young people, and how the IPCC investigates deaths. It called for legal aid to be available for families at inquests and for better training of police officers.

Mrs May, now Prime Minister, was once keen to see her review set in motion. Will she now act on its recommendations?

Rydon row

NEWS that two NHS hospitals have abandoned projects with the Rydon subsidiary, Ryhurst, will boost the campaign being run by the Defend Whittington Hospital Coalition.

The hospital’s board has stated that following a similar path would be too costly for them and that stalling the project could bring about the collapse of the entire hospital.

The hospital said yesterday it believes the north-west England hospitals’ decision was taken “in entirely different contexts” to those facing the Whittington.

But for the DWHC the context is exactly the same. The impact of the Grenfell disaster on the construction companies connected to the tower’s refurbishment is not yet known. Given this, can it prudent to be entering into long-term financial partnerships with Rydon?

This twist will certainly add an extra intrigue to the public meeting called by campaigners in January.

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