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Officers who left man naked in cell 'thought he was faking injuries'

IPCC release independent report into incident

More details have emerged of an incident which saw a man with broken legs strip searched and left naked in a cell for five hours.

Earlier this year, the IPCC announced that following an investigation, two police constables and two sergeants from Humberside Police had each received final written warnings for their treatment of a Russian man known as Mr W.

Now the police watchdog has released its independent report into the incident, in which the man was arrested on suspicion of rape and false imprisonment, allegations which were later retracted.

The watchdog found that PC Edmund Richardson and PC Kevin Dodgson had not shown the man an appropriate level of concern and that they treated him as being intoxicated and deliberately uncooperative towards officers.

Despite making numerous complaints about his legs being painful and being unable to walk, both officers believed he was “playing games” and “genuinely thought he was faking the injury”.

CCTV footage showed PC Dodgson saying: “It boils my piss you know; it boils my piss does this. It’s always us. No one can be in that much pain over bruised knees.

“I don’t believe anyone can be in that much pain for a bruised knee. I’ve had a broken ankle and managed to walk on it before.”

It also showed Mr W “groaning in pain” as he was dragged by the officers to the custody desk area and that when he asked for some water, PC Dodgson said he would only do so if he stood up, which he was unable to do.

Once in the cell, Mr W was strip searched and given a paper suit, but then left naked for five hours with just a blanket.

Sergeant Nicholas Hunt told the IPCC: “I accept that at that point I’ve dropped the ball and I’ve left him naked in his cell, that’s quite clear to see. I should have ensured that he was dressed, I concede that."

Both Sgt Hunt and his colleague Sgt David Beer were found to have failed to safeguard the welfare of a detainee in their care, particularly for failing to call MEDACS immediately despite Mr W frequently asking for medical assistance over the course of ten rousing checks.

It was only when Temporary Police Sergeant Iain Milner, who was covering staff shortages in the area, spoke to Mr W in more detail about his injuries and subsequently raised concerns with an inspector, that an ambulance was called and he was taken to hospital, where it was established he had fractures to both kneecaps as well as a fractured tibia.

Humberside Police Assistant Chief Constable Lee Freeman, lead for custody, said the force had fully assisted the IPCC in its investigation.  

“Annually around 18,000 people are brought into the custody suites across the force and the vast majority pass through without incident," he said.

Many of those who come into custody have a range of issues for custody staff to consider including drug and alcohol problems, mental health difficulties and other concerns which can make it a very difficult environment to manage.

All police officers and staff who work within the custody suites are involved in regular training and when incidents such as these occur we ensure any lessons learned are shared with staff to reduce the risk of similar occurrences happening again.