Council ‘deeply disappointed’ at police watchdog reaction to death in custody

two women at public meeting
Ian Taylor’s stepmother Millicent (left) and aunt Pauline at the July public meeting in Lambeth Town Hall in Brixton

Lambeth council has expressed deep disappointment at the response of the Metropolitan police to complaints about its role in the death of Ian Taylor in central Brixton in 2019.

Ian Taylor, 54, from Brixton, died while in police custody after being detained in Coldharbour Lane near his home on 29 June 2019.

A coroner’s jury found on 20 May this year that his death was caused by acute asthma and situational stress, alongside two underlying health conditions, with dehydration as a further contributing factor. Police had not offered him water, despite having and using it themselves on a very hot day, and did not call an ambulance.

Footage from body-worn police cameras was played at the inquest.

portrait of man
Ian Taylor

The coroner re-referred the Met to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) with regard to comments made by one of the officers who arrested Ian Taylor. 

The IOPC yesterday (18 August) found no indication “that any person serving with the police may have committed a criminal offence or behaved in a manner that would justify the bringing of disciplinary proceedings.”

Read the IOPC report

Dr Mahamed Hashi, Lambeth council’s cabinet member for safer communities, said: “Ian Taylor’s death has traumatised his family and shocked the local community.

“That pain was laid bare during a community meeting at Lambeth town hall in July when his relatives spoke with searing honesty and clarity about their tragic loss.

“They also spoke of their extreme concern about how information had been shared with them, and how this had made a terrible situation even worse for them.

man speaking at public meeting
Dr Mahamed Hashi speaking at the town hall meeting

“This shock and anger was reflected across the room as others in our community spoke about their own experiences, and reflected on what had happened.

“This latest announcement is deeply disappointing, and makes very clear that much more must be done to change the culture of policing.

“At Lambeth council we are already working hard to improve public accountability when it comes to policing the borough, whether that be around stop and search or how the police engage with local communities following incidents in their area.

“But it must be backed up by the Met responding to being put in special measures by developing new and better ways of engaging with communities, becoming more transparent and more reflective of the diverse city it seeks to serve.”

Speakers at the town hall meeting said that after the death of Ian Taylor, police officers threatened local people, claiming that he had been attacked.