Belfast Telegraph

Officer disciplined after ignoring and falsely recording prosecutors' advice

A police officer has been disciplined after he ignored and falsely recorded advice from prosecutors.

The Police Ombudsman investigated the matter after a complaint from the Public Prosecution Service (PPS).

It related to the arrest of a man suspected of assaulting a young person at a bus station in Co Fermanagh last June.

After the arrest, the officer contacted the PPS to discuss whether a caution via the Immediate Diversion Scheme might be an appropriate way of dealing with the allegation.

He was told an immediate caution could not be authorised at that stage and advised to interview the suspect and check if the alleged victim's parents would be content with an immediate caution.

The officer was also advised not to mention the possibility of a caution, because it could be interpreted as offering an inducement for an admission, the Ombudsman said.

When prosecutors received the police file two weeks later, however, it showed the suspect had been given an immediate caution and erroneously stated that both police and the PPS had been agreeable to the action.

During their inquiries, Ombudsman investigators examined CCTV footage of the suspect's time in custody at Enniskillen police station.

They found no evidence the officer had offered any inducement to admit the offence and accept a caution, and no evidence of criminal conduct by the policeman.

However, they said it was clear he had acted against the advice of the PPS and had falsely recorded that authorisation was given for the immediate caution.

As the officer had already been disciplined following an internal probe, the Police Ombudsman made no recommendations for any further action.

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