Police interaction with man in Northern Isles was appropriate

In the early hours of 18 July 2020, members of the public alerted police to the 34-year-old lying in the street in a town in the Northern Isles. When the officers approached the man they found him asleep and under the influence of alcohol. Having roused him, the man was found to be aware of his surroundings and understood what the officers were saying to him.

After the officers helped the man to his feet, he was able to walk unaided with them to his nearby flat, where they left him alone. About 2pm that day, a friend of the man went to his home and found him dead.

The investigation found that the man died in his flat sometime between 1am and 2pm on 18 July 2020, as a result of taking Buprenorphine and a designer drug called Flubromazolam.

CCTV footage shows various sightings of the 34-year-old man in the company of friends throughout 17 July 2020 and leaving a friend’s flat in the early hours of the 18 July 2020, prior to being found by members of the public and the officers.

On 19 July 2020, Police Scotland referred the incident to the PIRC. The investigation found that in the circumstances the officers acted appropriately and the man’s subsequent death could not have been foreseen. Although the man was drunk, the officers decided he was capable of taking care of himself. CCTV evidence also shows the man was capable of walking unaided.

It cannot be ascertained if the man consumed the drugs that led to his death prior to or after his contact with the police.