Published Date: Sep 2015
The Police Ombudsman has concluded that a police officer failed to summon medical assistance for a man who had been attacked outside a nightclub, and who said he was later told by medical staff that he was "lucky to be alive".
The man suffered head and face injuries after intervening to help a friend who was being attacked by five other men outside a County Antrim nightclub last November.
After managing to escape and run off, the man met up with his brother who spoke to a female officer when she got out of a police car which stopped nearby.
He told her about the assault and the officer allegedly replied: “It’s none of my business. Come back when you are sober.”
When told that he was not drunk, the officer was reported to have “wanted nothing to do with it”.
The complainant said it should have been apparent that he had suffered facial injuries, yet the officer did not take his details or arrange for medical attention.
The man made his way home, but said he had to attend the local accident and emergency unit later that morning. He described suffering memory loss for four hours and said medical staff told him that he was lucky to be alive.
The man’s mother reported the incident the following afternoon and police commenced an investigation into the attack.
During his enquiries into whether police had failed to assist the man, a Police Ombudsman investigator obtained all relevant police documentation and also established that the encounter had not been captured on CCTV.
Police records showed that police had responded to two reports of fighting in the area that night. Four police cars attended at around 12.30am, and three cars were sent in response to more fighting shortly after 2am.
The circumstances described by the complainant suggested it was an officer responding to the second incident who his brother had spoken to.
There had been four female officers among the police crews dealing with that call – three of whom matched the description provided by the complainant and his brother. None of the officers recalled having spoken to anyone with facial injuries.
One of those officers had also been on patrol in a car which matched a description provided by the two brothers, but when questioned she said all had been peaceful when she arrived at the scene and she had not got out of the police car or spoken to anyone.
Given the similar accounts provided by the two brothers, and the fact they tallied with police records, the Police Ombudsman investigator found that an officer had failed to record the man’s details or secure him medical assistance.
However, no disciplinary action could be taken as it proved impossible to positively identify the officer involved.