Disabled man dies after being detained by police in Blackburn

An investigation is underway after a disabled man died after being detained by police in Blackburn.

By Matthew Calderbank
Monday, 6th April 2020, 1:58 pm
Updated Monday, 6th April 2020, 2:00 pm
Peter Howieson, 52, died in hospital on March 24 after becoming unwell during a stop and search by a police officer in Higher Church Street, Blackburn. Pic: Google
Peter Howieson, 52, died in hospital on March 24 after becoming unwell during a stop and search by a police officer in Higher Church Street, Blackburn. Pic: Google

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said it is investigating after Peter Howieson, 52, died following an incident with a police officer in Blackburn on March 24.

The police watchdog said Mr Howieson suddenly became unwell after he was stopped and searched on suspicion of drugs offences in Higher Church Street at around 10.30am.

Howieson, who had been riding a mobility scooter at the time of the incident, was rushed to Royal Blackburn Hospital by ambulance, where he died later that day.

Lancashire Police reported the incident to the IOPC and an independent investigation is now underway.

IOPC investigators have conducted interviews with the police constable involved, as well as two security guards who witnessed the incident.

A spokesman for IOPC said: "We have begun an independent investigation and are appealing for witnesses to an incident involving police contact with a man in Blackburn on Tuesday 24 March, who died in hospital soon after.

"We understand that Peter Howieson, 52, was approached and spoken to by a police officer on Higher Church Street in Blackburn at around 10.30 am.

"Mr Howieson was riding a mobility scooter at the time of the incident. He was then stopped for the purposes of a search.

"He became unwell at the scene and was taken to Royal Blackburn Hospital by ambulance but was sadly pronounced dead later that day.

"We were notified by Lancashire Police of the incident the same morning and have begun to gather relevant information and CCTV.

"Initial accounts from the police constable involved and two security guards who were present have been gained.

"We are appealing for any witnesses to contact the IOPC."

IOPC regional director Amanda Rowe added: "I send my condolences to Mr Howieson’s family and everyone affected by this sad event.

"In circumstances where a man has died soon after being detained by a police officer it is appropriate that we thoroughly investigate to establish what happened.

"We are keen that anyone who saw what happened on Higher Church Street that morning comes forward."

Witnesses can contact the IOPC on 0800 151 0018 or email: [email protected]