Coroners are independent judicial officers, usually lawyers but a few are registered
medical practitioners. Their main duty is to enquire into the cause and circumstances
of deaths reported to them which are violent, unnatural or sudden, or of unknown
cause. Coroners are assisted by Coroners’ Officers, who may be police officers or
more recently, civilians, often retired police officers. All coroners’ officers take
their instructions from the coroner, in their enquiries relating to reported deaths.