Police officers accused of withholding man’s medication cleared of any wrongdoing

editorial image

Police and custody officers who were accused of withholding medication from a man in their custody have been cleared of any wrongdoing by the Police Ombudsman.

The man, who had been arrested for assault in Belfast, claimed staff had wilfully delayed the administering of his medication, that once given it was administered in the wrong dosage, and that adequate refreshments were denied to him whilst being detained. He also claimed that he was detained for an unreasonable period of time.

The man alleged failure of duty on the part of police and custody staff after the incident which took place in April of this year.

However, Police Ombudsman investigators who examined all relevant documentation relating to the case including custody and medical records, rejected his claims. They found that he had been seen by a doctor on three separate occasions at the request of the police and that, after the doctor prescribed medication, the officers had obtained and administered it according to medical instructions. As the medical examination was carried out by a force medical officer (FMO) who prescribed the type and quantity of medication to be given, custody staff could not deviate from the doctor’s instructions.

The man’s claims that he was denied food and water during his detention were also not supported by custody records which showed he was given water when required and when requested and had refused food when offered.

The man’s claims that he was detained for longer than necessary were also unsupported as investigators found his detention was necessary to progress the assault investigation; that during his detention the complainant was given a period of time for rest; his interview was conducted as soon as practicable and his solicitor was informed at all times of the progress of the investigation.

As he was detained lawfully and his welfare requirements administered in accordance with the PSNI Codes of Practice, no failures in duty were identified.