No evidence that police officers stole £2,000 from motorist

Published Date: 12.03.2024

An investigation by the Police Ombudsman’s Office has found no evidence to support a complaint that police officers stole £2,000 while searching a car near Newry last August.

The complainant also claimed that police had no valid reason for stopping him.

However, a Police Ombudsman investigator who examined police body-worn video (BWV) of the incident, found no evidence to support the claims.

“The footage did not show any money in the armrest between the front seats, as alleged by the complainant, and there was no indication that either of the two officers involved in the search had removed any cash from the vehicle,” he said.

“The complainant was advised that his car was to be searched under the Misuse of Drugs Act and was asked if it contained anything that it should not, or anything that could not be accounted for. He made no mention of there being a large sum of money in the vehicle.”

The investigator also noted that the complainant had appeared “agitated and confrontational” during the incident.

“He talked over the officers as they were trying to explain the reason for the search, and asked them how he could be certain they were police officers, even though they were in uniform and had been travelling in a marked police patrol vehicle.

“He recorded the officers on his mobile phone and at one point opened his car door with force towards them.

“He also refused to comply with instructions to turn off his engine and step out of the car, and it was only after several requests had been ignored that an officer pulled the key from the ignition, causing it to separate into different pieces.”

However, an officer was able to quickly reassemble the key, after which the complainant was able to use it to restart the vehicle.

The investigator concluded that the officers had a valid reason for stopping the complainant’s car and conducting a search.

“There was no evidence to support any disciplinary or other action against the officers involved,” he said. “Indeed, the body-worn video evidence demonstrates that they treated the complainant with courtesy and respect throughout the incident, and is testament to the value of BWV in such situations.”
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