Avon and Somerset Police has declined to hold misconduct proceedings around the death of James Herbert, despite an IPCC investigation finding that there was a case to answer.

Mr Herbert was arrested under the Mental Health Act following reports that he was causing a disturbance in Wells in Somerset in June 2010. He died in Yeovil General Hospital later the same night, after concerns for his health prompted officers to call an ambulance while he was in custody.

Narrative verdict
The inquest into his death, which finished last week, found that he had died of: 'cardio-respiratory arrest intoxicated by synthetic cathinones with an acute disturbance following restraint and struggle against restraint'. The jury recorded a narrative verdict.

IPCC Commissioner Rachel Cerfontyne said: “My condolences go to Mr Herbert’s family and friends at this difficult time for them. I have offered to meet them and would like to do so before the IPCC publishes its investigation findings.”

No sanctions issued
Following misconduct meetings in relation to Mr Herbert's case, Avon and Somerset ultimately decided not to issue sanctions against an acting inspector, the custody sergeant and two police constables.

Ch Supt Nikki Watson told the BBC: "My officers were faced with an extremely difficult situation and did their very best to protect James and other members of the public. Police stations are not the most appropriate place of safety for people detained under the Mental Health Act. However, on many occasions they are the only option available.

"We have taken note of the coroner's helpful comments about communication, risk-assessment and places of safety. We will now reflect on how we can improve our service when dealing with these challenging, but thankfully rare, situations."