Belfast Telegraph

Officers in clear over 999 call for ambulance

By Adrian Rutherford

Claims that PSNI officers waited 40 minutes before summoning help for a boy whose leg had been broken in an alleged assault have been dismissed.

The incident happened in Co Down last June. The boy's mother said her son was chased and tackled to the ground by a shopkeeper who mistakenly believed he had stolen from his shop.

She said her son suffered a broken leg, a black eye and bruising during the incident, and spent a week in hospital after surgery on his leg.

Despite this, she said police had accused him of feigning injury and refused to call an ambulance for 40 minutes.

She also alleged police had failed to conduct a proper investigation, resulting in the Public Prosecution Service deciding not to prosecute the shopkeeper.

Her claims were probed by the Police Ombudsman's Office, headed by Dr Michael Maguire.

When an investigator interviewed the officers and examined police records, it emerged there were markedly different accounts of what happened.

The boy claimed that the shopkeeper had kicked him on the knee. He was searched and police did not find stolen items in his possession. They noted that his right knee was swollen, his right eye was very red and that he had marks on his neck.

The shopkeeper, however, said the boy had fallen from a wall while running away with two other boys after being disturbed while attempting to steal items.

Police records also indicated that officers had arrived at the incident within four minutes of receiving a 999 call, and had called for an ambulance four minutes later. The timings were confirmed by the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.

It also became clear that the boy's friends had refused to provide statements to police about what had happened.

The investigator found that police had conducted an appropriate investigation into the alleged assault. All available evidence had been submitted by police to the PPS, which directed there was insufficient evidence to prosecute.

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