Developing Britain's police surgeon service

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.311.7020.1587 (Published 16 December 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:1587
  1. Graham Moon,
  2. Kath Kelly,
  3. Stephen P Savage,
  4. Yvonne Bradshaw
  1. Professor of health services research Research associate Professor of criminology Lecturer School of Social and Historical Studies, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth PO1 3AS

    Needs better legal and forensic training

    Police surgeons, also known as forensic medical examiners, are doctors who have agreed to make themselves readily available to respond to calls by the police.1 Their work entails examining detainees and police officers who have sustained injuries or who have other medical problems. They also decide whether individuals are fit to be detained or interviewed.

    The role of police surgeons in the criminal justice process has been highlighted, not always positively, in a series ofreports and court cases over recent years. Although the vast majority of them discharge their duties well, police surgeonshave been implicated in several high profile cases of injustice in the British courts. Carole Richardson, one of the “Guildford four,” was convicted of an IRA bombing substantially on the basis of a statement made after having been given a sedative for drug withdrawal.2 Enghin Raghip's admissions of involvement in the murder of …

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