Ombudsman’s Office rejects claim man was denied food in police custody

Police Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire.
Police Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire.

An investigation by the Police Ombudsman’s Office has rejected claims that a man was denied food and bedding while being held in police custody.

He was arrested on suspicion of drink driving in the early hours of a morning last October.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Ombudsman’s office said: “He was then taken to a police station in order to provide an evidential breath test, and was examined by a police doctor who directed that he would not be fit for interview until the following afternoon.

“In the meantime, he was detained in the station’s custody suite, but later complained that during his time in custody he was given no information about what was happening, was provided with no bedding other than a pillow and was not offered a meal.

“He also claimed that a police record showing that he had been offered a meal must have been falsified.

“However, when a Police Ombudsman investigator viewed CCTV footage of the man’s time in custody, she noted that a police civilian detention officer (CDO) had gone to the man’s cell with a tray. Something was taken from the tray and placed through a hatch in the cell door.

“There appeared to be a conversation between the CDO and the detainee, but due to the general noise level in the custody suite, the investigator was unable to determine what was said. However, seven minutes later, the CDO noted on the man’s custody record that he had been offered a meal but had declined.

“Further examination of the custody record provided no indication that the man had asked for a blanket or complained about not having one. There was a note that he had been offered a jumper as he appeared to be cold, but had declined the offer.

“The Police Ombudsman investigator also noted that the custody process had been adequately explained to the man while he was being admitted to custody, and that he had been provided with a copy of a relevant police code of practice when he requested it.

“The investigator concluded that there was insufficient evidence to support any aspect of the man’s complaint.”