Mental health: IPCC to investigate death in police custody

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is to investigate the death of a 22-year-old man in Bournemouth who had been detained under the Mental Health Act.

Matthew Lovell was reportedly found collapsed in the back of a police van at St Ann’s Hospital, a secure mental health unit in Poole, after being arrested by Dorset Police at a nearby beach under section 136 of the Mental Health Act on 28 October. This enables the police to remove a mentally ill person from a public place to a ‘place of safety’.

Police became involved after he was reported missing from Herbert Hospital, Westbourne, which provides long-term treatment and support for people with enduring mental health problems.


He was taken to Poole General Hospital where he was pronounced dead. A post-mortem at Winchester hospital failed to establish the cause of death, though confirmed there were no significant external injuries.

IPCC commissioner Tom Davies said: “This is a very difficult and sad case and my sympathies go to Mr Lovell’s family and friends at this difficult time for them.

“The IPCC will manage an investigation into the death by Dorset Police’s professional standards department and this will be overseen by one of our senior investigators.”

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