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Some non suspicious deaths investigated by the Police, are more often than not passed over by the Police to the Coroner's Officers to complete the enquiry.

When somebody dies, there is a duty on the doctor who has treated the deceased in his/her last illness to issue a Death Certificate, stating to "the best of his/her knowledge and belief", what the cause of death is.

If the Doctor is unable to do that, and there may be a variety of reasons why not, then the death will be dealt with by the relatives Coroner.

In these situations, if the police do attend, they will -

  • Arrange for the body to be identified
  • Inform relatives
  • Submit a report to Coroners office

On receipt of that report, in order to prepare for an inquest (should it be required) the Coroner's Officers will:-

  • Make contact with deceased's relatives, usually by telephone
  • Ring the general practitioner
  • Liaise with other agencies, e.g. Police, Ambulance service, Funeral Directors, and others.

Where a Doctor will not issue a death certificate a Post Mortem Examination will be required. The Coroner's officer will be responsible for -

  • Informing the relatives
  • Telling them the cause of death
  • Explaining the result if they don't understand,
  • Telling them about what to do next in terms of registering the death at the Register Office
  • Liaising with their appointed Funeral Director.

See link in related information for more details.

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Answers in this FAQ section are provided by the 'Ask the Police' website. Produced by the Police National Legal Database (PNLD) team, 'Ask the Police' is an official police site approved by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC). All FAQ answers are © PNLD.