Belfast Telegraph

Claims that search police left trail of damage rejected after video evidence

By Staff Reporter

Allegations that police officers left a trail of destruction during a house search have been rejected after video evidence showed that a TV they were accused of smashing was not in the room at the time.

After making a complaint about the officers who made the search, the householder showed a Police Ombudsman investigator a 43-inch TV with a cracked screen, which he said was broken by police. The TV was said to have been in a bedroom at the time of the search.

He also claimed that officers had spilt washing powder and washing-up liquid in the kitchen, and left black marks all over the bedroom walls. However, video recorded by the PSNI during the search showed that there had been no TV in the bedroom at the time, and no evidence of police having spilt anything in the kitchen.

The video also showed that police had conducted the search in a "professional and considerate manner" and there was nothing to suggest that a series of marks on the bedroom walls had been caused by them.

The search resulted in the man being arrested and taken into police custody on suspicion of an offence. The man denied any wrongdoing and complained that his arrest was an act of harassment.

However, the Police Ombudsman investigator found that police had a reasonable suspicion that an offence had been committed, and this justified his arrest and detention.

She also rejected the man's claims that police had deliberately mistreated him by making him wait outside the custody unit in a cold police van for four hours, without food and without being allowed to use the bathroom.

Enquiries showed that, although he had been detained in the van for approximately three hours, accompanied by police, the delay had been unavoidable, given demands on police staff at the custody suite at the time.

The investigator also established that the man had been allowed to use the bathroom outside the custody suite and had been allowed to stretch his legs.

Belfast Telegraph

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