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Police officer accused of sex assault by woman arrested for drink driving cleared

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The family member and the four police officers in attendance at the scene all stated that she had resisted arrest and there was a violent struggle (stock picture)

The family member and the four police officers in attendance at the scene all stated that she had resisted arrest and there was a violent struggle (stock picture)

The family member and the four police officers in attendance at the scene all stated that she had resisted arrest and there was a violent struggle (stock picture)

A police officer accused of sexual assault by a woman he arrested for drink-driving has been cleared following an investigation by the Police Ombudsman's office.

Three other officers were also cleared of allegations ranging from assault to failure in duty.

The complaints were made after the woman was arrested at her Belfast home on suspicion of drink-driving.

The woman, who alleged the arresting officer had put his hands up her hoodie, pushed up her bra and touched her inappropriately, also accused a female officer of grabbing her hood and trailing her to the floor after she was placed in a police Land Rover. She accused another female officer of running towards the Land Rover and kneeing her in the ribs, holding her down with her knee, grabbing her by the throat and making threats.

The Ombudsman yesterday revealed its decision but did not provide details of when it had received the complaint.

Officers were also cleared of having acted inappropriately by refusing her a drink and the use of a toilet while in custody.

A further complaint that the arresting officer had tried to provoke her by insisting on a blood sample despite her fear of needles, was also dismissed when CCTV footage from the custody suite showed the Forensic Medical Officer pointing out her tattoo, thus rejecting her phobia claim. Police Ombudsman staff examined all relevant police documentation and photographs of the woman's injuries, and took statements from a relative and officers at the scene.

A CCTV check and a witness appeal letter drop were also carried out. The family member and the four police officers in attendance at the scene all stated that she had resisted arrest and there was a violent struggle.

The witnesses did say that during attempts to get the woman into the Land Rover that her top had risen up but none said they had seen anyone touch her inappropriately. The PPS directed that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute any of the officers in relation to the claims.

A PSNI spokesman said: "We welcome the findings of the Police Ombudsman. We are committed to ensuring that officers and staff maintain the high standards expected of them and are satisfied that our officers involved in this incident acted with professionalism and integrity."

Belfast Telegraph