16th May 2019

On 7 May 2019 a misconduct hearing began for five Police Officers after a man lost the tips of three fingers when they were trapped under a toilet rim after he was restrained in a cell by Police Officers.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) who oversee Police complaints in England and Wales have previously stated a Police Sergeant has already admitted misconduct in relation to the incident whilst another Officer has received management action. The IOPC sent a report to the Crown Prosecution Service who decided in August 2018 no criminal charges would be brought as a result of the incident.

In brief, Essex Police Officers entered the arrested man’s cell on 1 May 2015 to remove his foot from a toilet.  The man is reported to have had mental health issues and was arrested on 30 April 2015 after a driver reported him for exposing himself on a bus.

Officers entered the cell after a Sergeant saw on CCTV that he had put his foot into a toilet in the cell. For some reason force was used to remove him from the toilet to the extent that he lost the ends of three fingers during the incident. He was taken to Hospital but the severed parts of his fingers could not be reattached.

It is reported the disciplinary hearing was told one of the Officers, Inspector Tyler, had joked in October 2015 about what had happened using jelly sweets (in the shape of fingers).  The Officers appearing before the hearing all denied gross misconduct.  They claim they were trying to remove the man to stop himself hurting himself and prevent him putting his head down the toilet.

The outcome of the misconduct hearing against the five Essex Police Officers is awaited.  The maximum disciplinary penalty available against the Officers is dismissal from the Force.

Blog by Richard Hardy, Partner