The British government says a rising number of deaths in custody risks undermining public confidence in the police.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission said Thursday that 17 people died in or after police detention in the year to March 31, six more than in 2013-14 and the highest number in five years. Another 69 people killed themselves after leaving police custody.

Home Secretary Theresa May, Britain's interior minister, announced an independent review into the deaths, which she said could destroy the "unwritten contract" between citizens and police.

Police fatally shot one person in 2014-15, the first such death in three years. Most British police don't carry firearms.

Of the 17 people who died in custody, 15 were white, one black and one Asian.