The Police Service of Northern Ireland, working with partner agencies such as the Coroners Service NI, have produced an ‘Inquest Guidance Booklet’ for bereaved families. The booklet is designed to be a source of information for loved ones whose family member’s death is to be investigated at inquest.
The booklet explains what an inquest is, the role of the Coroner, police involvement and the involvement of other partner agencies.
Commenting on the booklet, Head of Operational Support Department, Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Jonathan Roberts said: “All inquests relate to sad and difficult circumstances; as a police service we recognise first and foremost the suffering and loss of a loved one that family and friends face. It can clearly be difficult for anyone to be told that their loved one’s death will require an inquest. We always seek to act as sensitively as possible in such circumstances but we know that we have to provide a lot of information at a time when they are trying to process a lot of emotion. The procedure of an inquest itself can also feel intimidating and hard to follow.
“This booklet has therefore been developed in such a way to provide an overview of police involvement during the inquest proceedings, to explain and to demystify the process for those who have to experience it. Family members will be provided with a copy of the booklet and will be able to refer to it at any time through the inquest process.
“It is my hope that this booklet will answer some of the practical questions that families may have during the inquest process however our officers and staff will always be available to provide a listening ear, advice and support to any family who needs it.”
Also commenting on the booklet, The Presiding Coroner, Mr Justice Huddleston said: “When dealing with inquests it is important that all of those involved at each stage of the process work together and understand the ultimate aim. I encourage this initiative which helps to both explain and educate; and which hopefully will smooth the work that we all must do.”