'400 kill themselves' after release from police custody

Updated: 

The human rights watchdog has found that 400 people killed themselves shortly after being released from police custody in England and Wales in the last seven years, it has been reported.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said it had unearthed "serious gaps" in the care of people who had been in custody, with its chairman describing it as "fractured", according to the BBC.

Almost all the deaths happened within 48 hours of release from custody and around a third involved people who had been arrested over allegations of sexual abuse.

The EHRC is said to have urged the Government to consider transferring responsibility for healthcare in police stations to the NHS. 

The Home Office said that while the figures showed a slight fall in cases in the last year, each death represented a "failure".

David Isaac, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: "When the state detains people, it also has a very high level of responsibility to ensure they are safely rehabilitated back into their communities, particularly those who may be vulnerable.

"Our report reveals a fractured state of post-detention care that is potentially leading to hundreds of deaths."

The data was provided by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) covering a period from April 2009 to the end of March 2016.