Harrogate man died while hiding packet of suspected drugs from North Yorkshire Police
A man died after placing a package of suspected drugs into his mouth when he was stopped by police officers in Harrogate.
He was stopped by officers from the North Yorkshire Police County Lines drugs team, who believed he was engaged in supplying controlled drugs, according to a report published by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
The unnamed man started choking after swallowing the packet and officers immediately performed first aid to remove it but were unsuccessful.
Paramedics attended the scene and used medical equipment to extract a large packet, which appeared to contain drugs, from the man’s throat. The paramedics transported the man to hospital where he received medical treatment but later died.
The incident occurred on February 23, 2019 and the IOPC investigation was completed that September, but the report was published last week following the inquest into the man's death - which reached a conclusion of accidental death.
The IOPC obtained accounts from the officers, witnesses and parademics and assessed incident logs from the day as part of its investigation. It considered the officers’ actions alongside local and national police policies and found that they had complied with them as required.
A statement in the report reads: "Our investigation concluded there was no indication the officers may have behaved in a manner that would justify the bringing of disciplinary proceedings or committed a criminal offence. The officers were treated as witnesses and cooperated fully with this investigation. The evidence also suggested that all reasonable attempts were made to provide the man with medical assistance at the scene. The officers continued this work until paramedics arrived. Their actions in this regard demonstrated a commendable degree of diligence and professionalism.
"Throughout this investigation, we carefully considered whether there were any opportunities for learning or improvement. In this case, we did not identify any learning opportunities."