Jury return critical misadventure and narrative conclusion into death of Habib Ullah

High_court_5all credits: INQUEST
published: 2 March 2015

Today the jury returned a comprehensive and highly critical misadventure and narrative conclusion in relation to the level of force used to restrain Habib Ullah and the lack of appropriate after care provided by police.

Habib “Paps” Ullah, a 39 year old father of three, died when he was stopped and searched by police on 3 July 2008 in the Sharrow Vale area of High Wycombe. In the course of being forcibly restrained, Habib suffered a cardiac arrest. He was taken to hospital but attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.

The jury said that they believed that the officers could have considered alternative ways of dealing with Habib without using force. For example, engage with verbal communication; using specific, clear and repeated commands as outlined in the police training for non physical compliance; and to allow Habib sufficient time and opportunity to respond to the commands, that is to stand back and monitor and consider hand cuffing him at this time.

The jury narrative continued that once it had been decided to use physical force the officers could have used the rear take down technique.

The jury questioned whether the level of force used was appropriate given the level of resistance initially shown by Habib. They said they were particularly concerned that the techniques were applied by several officers simultaneously while Habib was restrained in the prone position.

The jury concluded that greater consideration should have been given to the risk factors including stress associated with positional asphyxia and that more care should have been taken to monitor Habib for any warning signs displayed.

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