Annex D Guidance, Aids and Services
COPFS Guidance on the Investigation of Deaths
There are a number of guidance manuals available to staff dealing with the investigation of deaths including the following:
- Chapter 12 of the 'Book of Regulations' provides comprehensive guidance on COPFS policy and practice in relation to the investigation of deaths. This guidance is available on the COPFS public website.
- The 'Deaths Manual of Practice' is an internal practical guide on the investigation of deaths including a section on the needs of bereaved nearest relatives, highlighting the importance of considering individual needs and that communication should be conducted in a supportive and understanding manner. There is a specific section in the Manual on retention of organs.
- 'Diversity Resources for COPFS Staff - A Practical Guide' provides access to a significant amount of material to staff who may be dealing with bereaved nearest relatives with individual needs arising from one or more of the protected characteristics.
- 'Deaths Cultural and Religious Awareness Guide' includes specific guidance on death customs and traditions. It covers consultation with relatives; customary procedures for dealing with a deceased's body including family involvement in preparing the body; whether burial or cremation is essential; whether delay in burial or cremation is likely to cause distress; circumstances in which there may be sensitivities in conducting post-mortem examinations and removing organs; and whether organs should be returned to the body prior to burial or cremation. It covers a number of faiths including Buddhism; Christianity; Hinduism; Islam; Judaism; and Sikhism. Cultural links covered include: Arabic; Bangladeshi; Chinese; Pakistani; Polish; Travelling Communities; Somalis and Turkish.
Aids and Services to Meet Service Users' Needs
The following aids and services provided by COPFS are to assist with meeting the needs of service users:
- Reasonable access to COPFS offices for persons with physical disabilities.
- Induction loops at all COPFS offices to assist those who are hearing impaired.
- A range of Interpreting, Translation and Transcription services are available. Staff can access 'Happy to Translate' facilities as well as Language Line to contact interpreters immediately by phone. Sign Language interpreters can also be provided and Text Relay (a service to assist persons with a hearing or speech impairment) is available. Documents can be translated into different languages and formats and Audio and Braille versions of documents can be supplied.
- Mandatory Diversity Awareness training, including Disability Equality training, is provided by COPFS to all staff. The diversity training for staff supports COPFS efforts towards meeting its equality duties and providing an effective and efficient service for all service users.