No action is to be taken against four police officers following the death of a man who collapsed in police custody, a misconduct hearing has decided.

However proceedings against two other officers involved in the case are still ongoing.

Thomas Orchard, 32, died in hospital seven days after being arrested and taken to Heavitree Road police station in Exeter, Devon, in October 2012.

Mr Orchard’s family said: “Strangely, we are not surprised, and yet deeply shocked, at the ruling announced today.”

During his time in custody, Mr Orchard was restrained using an emergency response belt (ERB) over his face for five minutes and two seconds to prevent him biting or spitting.

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The office of the chief constable of Devon and Cornwall Police admitted breaches under the Health and Safety at Work Act in 2018 during a landmark conviction and the force was fined £234,500.

The charge said the police failed to ensure that “non-employees”, including Mr Orchard, were not exposed to any risks in connection to the belt.

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