UK armed police
UK armed police at Durham Miner's Gala in July, 2017Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

Figures from the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) show the highest number of police shooting deaths since statistics were first gathered in 2004.

The watchdog said that 14 people died in police custody, which was the second lowest number, although other areas saw higher numbers.

Fatal police shootings rose to their highest ever number with six people fatally shot by police in 2016/17, the IPCC said, while 28 deaths related to police chases, the highest number since 2005/06.

IPCC chair, Dame Anne Owers, said that the figures should be "treated with caution", pointing out "the numbers involved are relatively small, and it is not clear whether year on year variations are a spike or a trend.

"While the number of fatal police shootings has risen this year, this is in the context of many thousands of authorised firearms operations - 14,700 in 2015/16." Owers said. "The deaths happened across six forces, and one was terrorism-related."

Westminster attacker, Khalid Masood's shooting was included in the statistics.

"It is important that each incident is thoroughly and independently investigated, to provide public reassurance." Owers said. "Investigations into three of the 2016/17 incidents are complete and, as in the great majority of firearms investigations, we have found no indication of misconduct by any firearms officer."

Owers said that the rise in police pursuit related deaths "is noticeable" and that the IPCC would work with the National Police Chiefs' Council "to look at the causes and whether any changes to police pursuit safety or training are needed".

The IPCC's report said that there were 55 apparent suicides in police custody and 124 other deaths after police contact. The report said those could include deaths that occur after police were called to domestic disputes and when someone died attempting to avoid arrest.