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					Sudden Death in Non Suspicious circumstances Statement of Policy This policy is designed to assist operational officers to deal with ‘non suspicious’ deaths in a professional, compassionate and caring manner. It should be only be implemented when all suspicious circumstances surrounding the death have been ruled out.

Date agreed/endorsed by BMG: 21 November 2003 Date of last update: 21 November 2003

Procedures 1 Introduction 1.1 This policy aims to inform staff of the procedures to follow and steps to take when dealing with deceased persons were the death is not suspicious. A separate policy on Suspicious Deaths and a Merseyside Joint Agency Protocol on “Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy” (S.U.D.I.) are also available to assist officers where appropriate. 2 What to do at the Scene of a Non – Suspicious Death

2.1 Appropriate care must be taken when dealing with and around dead bodies to minimise the risk of infection. Having established that there are no suspicious circumstances, that is where the death has not been as a result of the following • Suicide • Cot death • Fires where death occurs • Reports of vulnerable missing persons • Road traffic collisions where death occurs • Reports of abduction • Victims of violence • Deaths in custody (Police, Prison and those detained subject to a compulsory order under the Mental Health Act) • Anything which causes doubt and which therefore should be treated as suspicious until the evidence proves otherwise 2.2 Check the body carefully for any signs of life. If you think life may still exist immediately phone for an ambulance and attempt to preserve life. It is best practise for operational officers to have access to a resuscitation-aid device for use in such cases. 2.3 A Doctor or Paramedic must pronounce life extinct before removal to a mortuary. Any unauthorised movements of the body should be noted. Look for any injuries and if you become suspicious have CID informed and follow the steps outlined in the Suspicious Death Policy. 2.4 It is not essential that a GP attend at the scene, however if a GP does attend and is willing to issue a medical certificate with a cause of death, then the attending officer merely completes a Form 97 and transmits it to the relevant Coroners office. The

family can then make their own funeral arrangements. If the GP is unable to issue a certificate then the Officer is to take control of the body and report as in Part 3 below. 2.5 Any property found on the body and at the scene should be secured and if next of kin are present, returned to them, with permission from supervision and with pocket book signature as receipt. If this is not possible then the property should be seized and booked into the Property System. Any property returned or retained should be documented on the Form 97 sudden death report for the information of the Coroners officer. 2.6 Arrange for the body to be removed by the Coroner’s Call – Out Funeral Directors via the Communications Centre. The body will be accompanied by a police officer to the mortuary. 2.7 Make enquiries to trace and inform next of kin. Ask the neighbours regarding regular visitors. Check for an address book, letters, telephone numbers stored in the memory of the deceased’s telephone. Remember relatives should never be informed by telephone. It may be appropriate to speak to relatives at a reasonable hour of the day. Once told about bad news it is unlikely that they will sleep again until the following night. 2.8 Ensure messages notifying next of kin of the death are delivered in an accurate, caring and professional manner. If they are to be delivered by another Officer in an outside force or different Area than the deceased then ensure that sufficient information is provided to answer the next of kin’s questions. Try to imagine the questions you would ask if a member of your family had died. Also be aware of the need to inform more than one relative for example where there are fractured relationships. Inform the next of kin to contact the Coroner’s Office at the first opportunity, weekdays between 1000 hours and 1600 hours. Where appropriate give the family the tear off guidance sheet which can be found at the rear of the Merseyside Police revised Form 97 Sudden Death Report. 3 Administration

3.1 All sudden, unexplained or unnatural deaths must be reported to the Coroner without delay, to enable Coroner’s Officers to carry out their enquiries and advise the deceased’s family regarding the release of the body and certification. 3.2 It is the responsibility of the first officer arriving at the scene to commence completion of the Form 97 Sudden Death Report. This form has been revised to make completion easier, and to give more space for officers to record the information required. When completing the Form 97 fill in all parts, including the following • • • • • • • Officer in charge and full contact details Full details of the deceased Identification details and / or statement of identification Next of kin and contact details Details of Doctor/ Paramedic pronouncing life extinct Circumstances of death including position of the body Medical history

3.3 It is best practice that in all cases the Reporting Officer will provide a detailed statement of evidence. The statement should include evidence of identity, confirmation of death and by whom, next of kin information if available at time of submission and police action taken.

3.4 The tear-off Form 97 and statement should be faxed immediately to the Coroners Office for the Area where death occurred. The originals should be placed in despatches addressed to the Coroners Office. It is important when taking statements from witnesses to remember to allow them to read and correct any facts that they believe to be incorrect before being asked to sign the statement. 3.5 It is important to remember that HM Coroner treats every constable as a Coroners Officer when he/she is investigating a sudden and unexpected death. 3.6 The Coroners Department is part of Court Support Services. Contact can be made with Coroners Officers who will be only too happy to provide assistance and support. Details are as follows A) Liverpool Coroners Office, Cotton Exchange, Old Hall Street, Liverpool Tel 0151 233 4700 to 4709 Fax 0151 233 4710 B) Sefton Coroners Office, Southport Police Station Tel 0151 777 3480 Fax 01704 512784 C) St Helens and Knowsley Coroners Office, Whiston Hospital Tel 0151 430 1238 Fax 0151 426 6694 D) Wirral Coroners Office, The Concourse, West Kirby Tel 0151 625 2207 Fax 0151 625 9407 3.7 Where prescription drugs are a suspected to be a factor in the death. They should be recovered, labelled and packaged and booked into the Police Property system as per the suspicious death policy and noted on the Form 97 for the information of the Coroners Officer. 3.8 As in the suspicious death policy it would be good practise to use a polaroid camera to record the scene. This would provide an instant record of positions for the coroner’s investigation. The photograph should be placed in an envelope, attached to the Form 97 and forwarded to the relevant Coroner’s office. Do not use your mobile phone for this purpose 3.9 There are a number of outside agencies who are willing to give support to the bereaved ;For Child Deaths Bereavement Care Services at Alder Hey Hospital 0151 252 5117 Alder Centre Alder Hey Childrens Hospital 0151 252 5391 Fax 252 5513 Contact@childeathhelpline.org www.childdeathhelpline.org.uk For Road Collision deaths Road Peace PO 2579 London NW10 3 PW 020 8838 5102

Fax 020 8838 5103 Info@roadpeace.org www.roadpeace.org Victims of Asbestos Support Group Unit 3 Oriel Close Water Street Liverpool L2 8DQ People to consider contacting are local clergy, undertakers and social services in some cases


				
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