Published Date: 08.10.2013
A PSNI Custody Sergeant has been disciplined after an investigation by the Police Ombudsman’s Office, during which CCTV footage of the conversation he had with a complainant was used as a key piece of evidence.
The Ombudsman acted after the complainant alleged that remarks made to him by the officer during the conversation were wholly inappropriate.
The role of the Police Ombudsman upon receipt of a complaint is to make an objective assessment after examining all of the available evidence. In this case the main evidence included:
- an interview with the complainant
- an interview with the Custody Sergeant
- the CCTV footage from the Custody Suite
The complainant prepared a written statement and gave an interview in which he described the conversation he had with the officer. He alleged that comments made to him while he was present in the Custody Suite were not only inappropriate but also threatening in nature.
The Ombudsman investigator established the identity of the officer on duty, who was then interviewed. He admitted making the comments as alleged, but stated that he had not meant to cause any offence and denied that his behaviour had been oppressive.
The investigator established that the Custody Suite was monitored by Closed Circuit Television cameras. When the CCTV footage was obtained it showed the entire conversation between the complainant and the officer. After analysing the footage the investigator concluded that inappropriate comments were made by the officer during the conversation, and judged that his behaviour fell below the standards expected of officers set out in the PSNI Code of Ethics.
As a result the Ombudsman recommended that disciplinary action should be taken against the officer. This was acted upon by the PSNI.
The Ombudsman also wrote to the complainant to inform them that their complaint had been upheld.