A Yorkshire police force has issued a public apology to a man who was strip searched and left naked in a cell for five hours with broken legs after being criticised for its “defensive” response to a report into the incident.
Disciplinary action has been taken against Humberside Police officers and civilian staff over the detention of the 49-year-old man at Clough Road police station in Hull in 2014.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission described his treatment as “wholly unacceptable” in a report published this week and said that the man, who spoke little English, had been the victim of a false allegation prior to being detained.
In its statement issued in response to the report on Thursday, Humberside Police said it had “assisted the IPCC fully” and that that officers and staff involved had faced misconduct procedures.
The force did not issue an apology in its statement but said it had acted on the recommendations made by the watchdog.
Keith Hunter, who was elected as police and crime commissioner earlier this month, said the statement released by the force “raised a number of questions and concerns for me”.
He said: “I spoke to the Chief Constable about this matter and was reassured that the most important of these issues, relating to the victim, had been dealt with.
“The statement issued by the force yesterday did not reflect the action taken by Humberside Police and could be interpreted as being defensive, when the force had actually fully accepted its fault and apologised to the victim and his family.”
He added: “Although this incident occurred two years before I took over as commissioner it still has the ability to shock. Nothing can excuse the manner in which the victim of this terrible incident was dealt with.
“It is my role to hold the Chief Constable to account for the actions of Humberside Police, not apologise for them, but I am sorry any person should have endured what this victim did when they should have been in the care of Humberside Police.
“I will follow up any managerial and leadership issues identified within the full IPCC report with the Chief Constable when it is published and ensure the public are informed of issues of concern and how they are addressed.”
In a statement released around the same time as Mr Hunter’s, Assistant Chief Constable Lee Freeman said: “I would like to record that we have unreservedly apologised to both the individual and his family.”
He added: “The facts speak for themselves and in this incident, they show that the care provided fell significantly below the standards we expect from our staff and officers.
“Formal misconduct action has been taken against the relevant staff and officers, and on behalf of the force, I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate our apology.”
The IPCC’s report into the case said the man was dragged into the custody suite area despite pleading and showing signs of distress when moved. He was then strip searched and left naked in the cell.
His requests for medical attention were ignored until an inspector carrying out a custody review called a doctor and an ambulance was summoned. In hospital he was found to have fractures to both legs.