POOR CCTV has been blamed for the death of a man in police custody.

Raymond Knight, 55, of Western Avenue, West Thurrock, died of cocaine toxicity after falling ill in a cell at Grays Police Station on November 19, 2017.

Mr Knight was arrested by police on suspicion of possession of class A drugs with intent to supply after his car was stopped and searched. He was placed in a holding cell in Grays custody suite, but became ill a short time later and was transported to hospital, where he later died.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) launched a probe following the death, with recommendations raising serious concerns over CCTV.

They revealed CCTV did not have sight into individual holding cells, meaning Mr Knight may not have been seen when he initially fell ill. The officer who searched Knight before his death is also being investigated for misconduct.

A previous incident, in Basildon police station when a man self-harmed in a cell, saw the IOPC recommend CCTV cameras be reviewed in all cells across Essex.

The IOPC recommendation read: “Our investigation found that there was not full CCTV coverage of the holding cell in which he had been placed. This was because the CCTV camera in the holding area did not include, within its coverage, sight into the individual holding cells. This issue was also highlighted by the coroner following the inquest into the man’s death, who issued a Prevention of Future Deaths Report, noting it is essential to see what is happening within the holding cells when a prisoner is detained in one of them. Essex Police should ensure that there is comprehensive CCTV coverage of all holding cells in Grays police station.”

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “We take the welfare and supervision of detainees extremely seriously from the moment of arrest to release or charge. While people are in our custody we routinely check on their health and ensure anyone in need of medical assistance receives the appropriate care and attention.

“We will take these recommendations seriously and give full and appropriate consideration on how to address them.”