Published Date: 18.10.2016
A Police Ombudsman investigation has found that police used minimal force after a man grabbed medical notes from a police doctor and put them in his mouth.
The man complained that two officers wrestled him to the ground and were heavy handed when they retrieved the paper from his mouth.
He said one officer knelt on his back and another had a knee on his arm, which he continued to twist even after the notes had been retrieved.
The man grabbed the notes while being examined by a police doctor at Bangor police station in May.
He said he had hurt his back while on his way to the station, where he was due to be interviewed about an alleged offence, and had agreed to see the doctor to save a trip to the hospital.
However, before being examined he said he had checked that any notes taken by the doctor would be confidential.
Man said he thought notes would be confidential.
He claimed that some time into the examination the doctor advised that he would have to give his notes to the police custody sergeant. At that point, the man said he grabbed the notes and put them into his mouth to prevent police from getting them, then ran from the room.
When interviewed, one of the officers who had helped to retrieve the notes said he had been concerned that the man may have taken medication and acted to prevent any potential harm.
CCTV footage was also examined, and it showed the man failing to comply with police requests to remove whatever was in his mouth. He continued to resist when officers tried themselves to remove the notes, at which point he was brought to the ground and held by a wrist while an officer retrieved the paper.
The man was then helped to his feet by officers.
Having reviewed the evidence, the Police Ombudsman investigator concluded that the officers had acted in the man’s best interests and had used minimal force when doing so.