Apology after police ‘fail to read evidence’

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HUMBERSIDE Police have apologised to a magistrate wrongly served with an anti-harassment notice after officers failed to fully investigate the case.

The Hull magistrate was suspended by the Lord Chief Justice’s Department in February.

After he appealed, it emerged that the officers issued him with the “police information notice” without examining the contents of 20 emails sent to the former employee who claimed he was harassing her - nor her 13 emails in reply.

In a letter Chief Inspector Lee Edwards admitted that if the officers had “sought access to all this information they might have formed a different view about the nature of the dialogue.”

The force has deleted the record of the PIN and the magistrate, who does not wish to be named, is to be reinstated.

PINs, sometimes known as harassment warning notices, don’t constitute legal action, or suggest harassment has taken place but are used by police to make it clear future similar conduct could be deemed an offence and lead to arrest.

The magistrate is seeking damages, under the Human Rights Act, claiming issuing the PIN was “grossly disproportionate.”

Andrew Petherbridge, from Neil Hudgell Solicitors, said the police’s action had damaged the man’s reputation in legal and business circles.

He said: “It appears Humberside Police took the easy option and chose not to investigate the allegations in detail and it has had serious consequences for a man they now admit had done no wrong.”

Humberside Police said it “had been in correspondence with the person involved in relation to the issues they raised with the force.”