Police in Preston have been criticised about how they dealt with an injured man in the cells at the city’s police station.Advertisement
An investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission found ‘some failings’ about how the 22-year-old man was looked after.
The man had been arrested in connection with a street disturbance in the Ribbleton area on 1 November 2014.
He was taken into custody in Lancaster Road, Preston, and police had been told he had been unconscious – but he was on his feet when they arrived and paramedics said he had no injuries.
However, the man was found to have a bleed on the brain after a nurse examined him in custody at 5pm that day. He ended up needing surgery.
The investigation by the IPCC highlighted the following concerns:
• A lack of understanding of the importance of rousing checks and deficiencies in the way they were conducted
• Record-keeping by Custody Detention Officers (CDOs) not accurately reflecting cell visits and inadequate scrutiny of log entries by superiors
• Poor quality staff handovers in custody
• Hospital attention not being sought as promptly as it could have been despite the fact the man had potentially been unconscious
• Lack of recognition by some officers of the purpose and value of a medical telephone advice, resulting in advice being declined.
One Sergeant at Preston Police faced a misconduct hearing.
It was alleged the officer knew the man had potentially been unconscious but had witheld that information when speaking to the health service.
At a misconduct meeting the force decided to deal with him through performance measures. The force also considered the performance of four other officers to be unsatisfactory, although not amounting to misconduct, and to address that through training and development plans.
IPCC Commissioner Carl Gumsley said: “Although thankfully there was no fatality on this occasion, the man was in a critical condition and it was a very serious matter.
“Hopefully the learning and recommendations we have made, which have been taken on board by the force, will help avoid similar situations in the future.”
A Lancashire Police spokesman said: “Every effort is made to safeguard the welfare of detainees in police custody, including a thorough risk assessment of each upon arrival. However we must learn the lessons from incidents like these. We understand this a traumatic time for this individual and those close to him.
“Issues identified by the IPCC, including better record keeping and increased use of telephone medical advice, have been addressed. It has been concluded there was no individual misconduct but a number of learning points for individual officers and the organisation. This learning is being actively applied and will be incorporated into future custody staff training to prevent any future incidents.”