Use of force was not excessive after man refused to provide DNA sample

Published Date: 16.08.2016

A Police Ombudsman investigation has rejected a claim that a man’s arrest was unjustified and that police used excessive force while taking his fingerprints, DNA samples and photographs.

The man was arrested in March this year on suspicion of having breached a non-molestation order.

After arresting him, officers found a small bag of white powder and he was then also arrested on suspicion of the possession of a Class A drug.

He later claimed that his arrest had not been justified and, when in the custody suite, officers had used excessive force when taking fingerprints, DNA samples and photographs.

However, when a Police Ombudsman investigator viewed CCTV footage of the incident, he found that the man had been visibly agitated and had refused to co-operate with police staff.

The footage showed that between nine and 11 custody office staff were required to ensure that fingerprints, samples and photographs could be taken.

The investigator noted that police had a right under the Police and Criminal Evidence Order to use reasonable force to obtain this material, and concluded that the force used by custody staff had been “reasonable, controlled, proportionate and necessary.”

He also concluded that the man’s arrest was justified given the allegation that he had breached a non-molestation order, and was suspected of being in possession of drugs.

The Public Prosecution Service subsequently directed  that the man should not be prosecuted in relation to the alleged breach of the non molestation order, and he received a caution for possession of a Class B drug.

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