Police didn’t strip woman

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Police officers helped a woman who took off her own clothes to try to create ligatures in order to self-harm in Strand Road Police Station last Christmas: they didn’t strip and assault her as she had claimed, video footage viewed by investigators has proven.

A Police Ombudsman investigation has rejected a complaint that police had stripped and assaulted the female prisoner during her detention in a cell at the main police station on the cityside of Londonderry last December.

The woman also claimed that the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) had failed to take her to hospital after she suffered a seizure.

She also claimed that the police officers did not provide her medical records for a subsequent court appearance.

However, when a Police Ombudsman investigator examined audio and video footage from the custody suite it showed that the woman had not been assaulted as she had claimed.

The footage viewed by the investigators instead showed that the police officers had been trying to help the woman and that they had been diligent in their observations of the woman during her period in custody.

According to the Police Ombudsman, police staff intervened when the woman removed items of clothing and attempted to use them to inflict self-harm.

Other items in the cell, including a blanket, mattress and pillow were also removed after the woman tried to rip them to create ligatures.

The police officers had been concerned the woman would attempt to self-harm, according to the investigators.

Police staff offered her replacement clothing but this was refused.

The evidence viewed by the Police Ombudsman investigators also showed that police officers had kept the woman under constant observation during her period in custody, and ensured she was seen by a doctor after she reported having suffered a seizure.

Regarding the complaint concerning the non-provision of medical records during a subsequent court appearance, the investigators also cleared the police officers at Strand Road of any wrong-doing.

In addition, the investigator found that there had been no obligation on police to supply the court with the woman’s medical records.

The Police Ombudsman investigator concluded that there was no evidence of misconduct by any of the officers or police staff who had dealt with her during her time in custody.