Investigation clears police over allegations they stripped and assaulted female detainee

Published Date: Aug 2016

A Police Ombudsman investigation has rejected a complaint that police stripped and assaulted a female prisoner in a cell at Strand Road police station in Derry/Londonderry in December.

The woman also claimed police had failed to take her to hospital after she suffered a seizure, and did not provide her medical records for a subsequent court appearance.

However, when a Police Ombudsman investigator examined audio and video footage from the custody suite it showed that the woman had not been assaulted as she had claimed.

Instead, police staff intervened when the woman removed items of clothing and attempted to use them to inflict self-harm.

Other items in the cell, including a blanket, mattress and pillow were also removed after the woman tried to rip them to create ligatures.

Police staff offered her replacement clothing but this was refused.

Evidence also showed that police had kept the woman under constant observation during her period in custody, and ensured she was seen by a doctor after she reported having suffered a seizure.

In addition, the investigator found that there had been no obligation on police to supply the court with the woman’s medical records.

He concluded that there was no evidence of misconduct by any of the officers or police staff who had dealt with her during her time in custody.

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