When a suspicious death occurs the police will attend with a number of responsibilities and duties that will need to be carried out. The Police Officers assigned to the case may also act on behalf of the Coroner during the investigation.
Any death will be confirmed by a skilled police surgeon.
Removal of the deceased
When a suspicious death occurs in the home (including residential and nursing homes) the deceased will eventually be removed and taken to a hospital or Coroner’s mortuary. This will happen to establish the cause of death and to preserve any evidence.
When a death has occurred in a road accident the body is taken to a mortuary because a post mortem has to be held to determine the cause of death. The police will arrange for the body to be removed from the scene by undertakers who have been authorised by the Coroner. In some circumstances (such as when a body is in public view) the body may be removed by the ambulance service.
All victims of road deaths in Leicestershire will usually be taken to the Mortuary at the Leicester Royal Infirmary.
The Police investigation
When an unexpected death occurs the police will undertake an investigation, which will gather evidence to determine how the deceased died. Police officers will be appointed to be the main point of contact for the bereaved. These officers may be a Family Liaison Officers (F.L.O) who will provide immediate support and advice and keep you informed of any progress with any police investigation. If you so wish, Leicestershire Constabulary will also liaise with the MBCOL.
The length of time that the body of the deceased is retained by the Coroner is sometimes dependent on the investigation in progress. The police and the Coroners office are sensitive to the needs of the Muslim community and all efforts will be made not to retain the body of the deceased any longer than is absolutely necessary.
The Police report
In certain circumstances, the officer(s) attending the scene of the incident will need to complete a full report. This will be concluded at the end of the police investigation and therefore can take several months. When required, the report will be submitted to the Coroner.
The Police liaise with the Coroner and the Crown Prosecution Service (C.P.S.) in order that a decision is made on what should happen. They examine the report to determine whether anyone was at fault for the death and if they are to be charged with a criminal offence. If anyone is charged with a criminal offence the evidence in the report will be used by lawyers in the criminal courts.
In the event of a Coroner’s Inquest, the officers who attended the scene will also be required to attend to give evidence of what they found on first arrival at the incident.
The Police report will only be made available when court proceedings have ceased and a Coroner’s Inquest has been held, or in cases such as road death incidents where no further prosecution is to be taken. Unfortunately, a charge has to be made for a copy of the report.