Hello Jo Police Complaint /...
Hello Jo Police Complaint / Wrongful arrest Circumstances leading up to my arrest: Sorry it's long winded but this is a copy of complaint already sent to police constabulary and IPCC.
On Sunday evening at approximately 6.30pm I was home alone and sat in my front room watching television. I live alone but have shared custody of my 6 year old daughter. Her mother lives at an address in XXXX On this evening my child was with her mother.
Whilst watching television, I was aware of loud music being played somewhere outside of my home. The noise level was so high and in particular the bass on the sound system so intense, that it caused the walls in my home to vibrate. I thought it may have been a car parked outside with the music turned up loud.
I checked outside of my lounge window and realised there was no car. I walked into my hallway and was then aware that the music was in fact being played from the home of my neighbour. I heard raised voices seemingly enjoying the loud music and singing along. The address of this home is XXXXX. A white male, 35 yrs old, big build, with long hair lives there with his wife and child of 6 yrs.
*** brief history ***
I have previously had many problems with the neighbours in this household. When they moved in they renovated their home and built an illegal construction. The works were conducted outside the set perimeters provided by XXXX Council. On one occasion I was assaulted by one of the builders and called police. The police took no action and told me it was only a neighbourly dispute. I reported the incident to the council.
I sat back down in my lounge and tried very hard to ignore the loud music. It felt very intrusive and totally ruined the enjoyment I should have enjoyed in my own home. After waiting for 30 minutes I decided that I could not stand the intrusion no longer. I put on my plimsoles and coat and walked to the front door of number XX. I knocked using the knuckles on my left hand.There was no response. I rang the doorbell. I was aware that people were approaching the door as their voices got louder and I could see a movement through the semi circle pane of glass fixed on the top of the hard plastic pvc door. I heard laughing and then saw that the persons inside moved away from the door. I continued knocking. I alternated between using my knuckles and the base of my fist to knock. I was there for 10 minutes and there was no response.
At that point my other neighbour (on the other side of my mid terraced home) XXX and her husband (friendly) walked out and stood by their door. XXXX said, "is that music coming from their house?" I replied yes. She said that she could hear it in her home so 'god knows how loud it must be in yours'.
I continued knocking and eventually the door was opened by the owner of the home who I shall now name as 'A'. He was in company with a white male, mid 30s, short light coloured hair, 5'09", wearing a T shirt with the letters 'N' and 'Y' printed on it. I shall refer to this male as 'B'. Also present was another white male, late 40s, 5'08", short grey hair swept over and parted. I will call this male 'C'. All three males were stood at the door. Behind them was a female of big build who I knew to be the wife of A. With her was another white female, slim build, blond hair in a ponytail. This female was laughing intensely and looking directly at me. I could smell alcohol and gathered they had all been drinking. The slim female was hysterical with laughter. I describe it as a cackling laugh.
I asked A if he could please turn the music down. He said, "No. f**k off". I repeated myself and was met with antagonistic, aggressive and confrontational behavior. All 3 males were laughing at me and told me to "f**k off and go home". I became increasingly distressed and told them to turn the music down or off. I was met with nothing but a foul mouthed, aggressive response and in no uncertain terms was told they couldn't give "a f**k about me".
I have a disability. My right hand is non functional. I was involved in a serious car accident in 2007 and nearly lost my hand completely. It was saved but severely scarred, missing little finger and noticeably deformed. I suffer from a condition called CRPS. Essentially this is nerve pain and it is debilitating as it is chronic. Distress of any sort exacerbates the pain. The deformity of my hand is very visible.
Male A looked at me and said. "f**k off home and take your tablets". I protested with all members stood at the other end of the threshold. I became increasingly distressed and could not stand the level of provocation directed towards me. My voice was raised and I said, "Please turn the f**king music down". B walked towards me. His face was contorted with anger and he was very animated, He pointed his finger at me and said, "I'm going to f**king kill you". He turned away and headed for the kitchen. C pulled him back and spoke to him in a foreign language that I could not understand. B walked towards me again and said, "I work for the police. Next time I see you, I'm, going to f**king kill you". He pointed at C and said, "he's an ex navy seal". We're gonna f**king have you". At that point my neighbour from number XX (friendly) grabbed me from behind and ushered me back to his home. His name is XXXX.
During the police interview that took place on 17th Feb 14 approx midnight (after I was arrested), I was asked why I didn't walk away when the threat to kill was made. I explained that it was in that split second that Onder ushered me away. Again the PC asked why I didn't walk away voluntarily. I clarified that I was ushered away by XXXX. I interpreted the threat to kill as a serious risk to my personal safety. B is totally unknown to me. I was conscious of the fact that he knew where I lived. My chief concern was that although my child was not present, if say I had her on any given day, I feared the threat may be carried out, or that I may been seriously assaulted and that is a serious concern.
The investigating PC asked me why if I felt so threatened, it took me 15 minutes to call the police once I was ushered away. I will explain.
XXXX ushered me into his home and sat me down. His wife XXXX made me a cup of coffee. XXXXsaid to me, "him saying he is going to kill you is really out of order. How can he say that. You've got a child". I appreciated his empathy and decided that the threat was significant and although the immediate danger had passed, I would not have felt safe knowing of such a threat. Furthermore the safety of my child was of chief concern. Also, the dispute between myself and A is well known by other associates of his. I have previously suffered an assault that was reported to police but was NFA. My reasoning was that A would have no problem in seeing me come to some harm. I was in fear for my safety and believed his intent (B) to be true. It was at that point I decided to dial the non emergency police number.
(In relation to the above), I have previously been assaulted by other parties within the same household. This incident was reported to police on that occasion. The arriving officers told me that if the suspect I reported was to be arrested that I too would be arrested. I am a single dad with a 6 year old daughter. On that occassion my daughter was present. I would not have voluntarily brought on any further distress to my daughter.
Having already seen her dad beat up, seeing me arrested would have traumatized her. I asked if the assault would be reported. I was told yes. Yet when I mentioned this fact to the police (both the sgt who had first contact with me on Sunday 16/2/14 and the subsequent interviewing officer), They told me no such report could be found. I will forward you evidence of my report under separate cover.
I will forward you an email which I sent onto the council following the incident. It contains the date, police reference number (of my call) and my account of what happened. My concern thus far is that there is no recognition of the escalating level of provocation my neighbours are causing me and the risk to my safety. The fact that such little effort and motivation went into retrieving the details of this report suggested to me a total lack of interest from the very outset of the allegation I made on Sunday 16th Feb.
*** Footnote police interview***
In response to the challenge from the investigating PC i.e why I waited 15 minutes to call police. The immediate threat had passed. But I believed B had meant every word he said and the way he was so animated and confrontational only served to support my fears.I interpreted it to be a threat that was significant for the future as it was for the present.
Whilst talking to the police operator (when I called to make the allegation of threats to kill) I was aware that the 3 males had turned up outside XXXXX house. Having seen them, I then said to the police operator, I want you to upgrade this to an emergency call. The 3 males are outside my neighbours house and they can see I'm in here. I hung up and stood back. I heard A and B say to XXX. "we're sorry the music was too loud. We're sorry to you, but we're not sorry to him. f**k him". XXXX told the males to go home. He shut the door. I finished my coffee and headed home to wait for the police.
At about 8.30pm, there was a knock at the door and I heard the sound of a police radio, I saw the high vis jacket being worn by the person and was happy it was a police officer. I opened the door. I was met by a white female, police sergeant, 6'01", athletic build, with blond hair tied back. She sat down and explained that she had spoken to the other party of people and got their version of events. I then gave her my version and I noticed that she screwed up her face and said, "yeah but he's not going to actually kill you is he?". I told her that it was my honest held belief that he would. I told her that I feared for my safety because of the threat and the previous history with the ongoing dispute (she refused to accept a report had been made).
She went on to say that she would not arrest him because that sort of thing is said by gang members and it's those sorts of threats we deal with. I put my case forward and informed her that I would like her to acknowledge the level of fear I had for my personal safety. At this point she raised her voice and said, "look if we arrest him you do realise I will also arrest you for Criminal damage". She further explained that an allegation had been made towards me that I had kicked the door. I said to her that I couldn't accept her ultimatum and informed her that she had my full cooperation to progress her enquiries. She said, "right so you want to get arrested?". Her tone was strong bordering aggressive.
I felt as if I was being bullied into making a decision to withdraw my allegation. My trust and confidence in the police response evaporated rapidly. I felt alone and vulnerable. I picked up my 'I' phone and initiated the audio record function on it and sat it on my lap. (The Police sergeant noticed me get up from my 2 seater sofa, pass where she was sat on my 3 seater sofa and pick up my phone from her far side). I suspect she may have become suspicious that I had picked up my phone to record her.
The conversation between her and I continued in the same vain. My overriding impression was that she would only arrest him on the understanding that I would also be arrested. I felt as if she was attempting to disuade me from making the allegation. I felt as if there was an attempt by the police to not act at all. I felt very strongly about the threat made and stood firm on my decision to proceed.
5 minutes had passed and she asked me if I was recording her. I said yes as I feared my allegation was not being taking seriously and furthermore I felt like someone was holding a gun to my head asking me to make a decision I wasn't happy with (i.e. if we arrest him, then you will be too). Especially because the exact same thing was done by the previous officers when I made an allegation of assault on the previous occasion.
Once she realised that she was being recorded I detected a change of attitude and her reluctance to take the matter further had subsided. She told me to wait whilst she made further enquiries. She left my home and went to speak to XXXX at xx. She was aware that XXX had heard the threat to kill. I told her.
10 or 15 minutes had passed and XXXX (friendly neighbour) knocked on my door. He told me that the police sergeant was asking questions about my behaviour. She asked if I entered the home of A. She asked XXXX if I was making threats and acting aggressively. At that point I told XXXX that I suspected she was so peeved that I had recorded her that she was focusing more so on me as suspect for an offence and not the other persons. I told XXXXthat I was going to record our conversation as I suspected the impartiality I was entitled to was lacking. I recorded our conversation in which XXXX said, that the other party had acknowledged they were in the wrong and that they wanted to apologise. He said that the sgt had told him if I accepted the apology that no one would be arrested. I told XXXX how unfair it was for conditions to be imposed on what I felt was a significant allegation. I felt so strongly that I did not want to withdraw my allegation that I did not want to accept the advice by the police not to pursue my allegation.
Onder left my home.
There was another knock at the door and it was the same police sgt with a male colleague. He arrested me for Sec 4 POA (not criminal damage). I put my coat on and was led to the police car. I was made aware by the male pc that he had a body cam and that it was recording me. I was being driven to the police station by the police sgt and her male colleague was in the passenger seat. She said to me that my neighbour told her that I used to be a police officer. I confirmed it and told her that I used to work for the Met. This conversation took place at 2055 hrs. It would have been recorded by the body cam worn by the male pc. I made a conscious decision to note the time as it was the first time this topic had been brought up. I made no mention of it previously as I only wanted it to be dealt with in my capacity as a MOP (not an ex cop). Once the subject was raised, I became concerned that I would be treated differently hence why I made a mental note of the time the question was asked. I did not feel the sgt was interested on a personal level. I kept my answers short and to the point. I was very polite with it.
In the custody suite I was being read my rights. A custody sgt, male with a stubble/beard stood behind the DDO booking me in. When the DDO finished the formality of reading my rights I said, "I understand". The custody sgt looked at me and said, "yeah we know you have prior knowledge of the procedure!". I didn't appreciate this. I at no time mentioned my previous police service as I felt it was irrelevant. The comment was unnecessary and increased my anxiety. In any case, who had told him of this fact? Why was it relevant to the booking in procedure? This made me feel that from the very outset I was suffering prejudice because of my previous employment. Furthermore, I did not elude to my previous employment at all and at no point did I even hint at it. When the question was asked, I confirmed it. I suspect Andrea or Onder told them. The comment from the custody sgt was inappropriate and made me feel uneasy.
My I phone was seized as evidence because of the recording I made.
During the interview I was accompanied by a legal rep. I gave my account as per the above. I was shown a picture of the door to number 43. It has a visible smudged mark as if a foot had come into contact. I was probed about this and asked if i had kicked the door. I replied that I had knocked on the door many times and although I don't remember owing to the distress I felt, it may be that my foot came into contact with the door. The intention, if this was the case, was to get the owner to answer the door. It was not to cause criminal damage. Furthermore, had I really wanted to then there would be very visible damage to the door.
I was threatened with arrest for criminal damage if I pursued my allegation. But I was actually arrested for a public order offence. Why? If there was no evidence to arrest me for criminal damage why look to arrest me for causing Harassment, Alarm and Distress. I find it hard to believe that 3 males and 2 females who have a history of aggression towards me would feel threatened by me. Besides, 1 disabled man vs 3 well built males, 1 well built female and another female so 'distressed' that she was laughing hysterically? Did the officers on scene put as much effort in gathering evidence about my arrest for a public order offence as they did with my allegation? Did they question the behaviour of the other persons and test their stories against the information I provided? I suspect not. Did the police on scene, ask questions of B? About his statement of him working for the police? If what he says is true, why wasn't this queried on scene? When I told the police sgt what he said her response was, "I think he just said that".
After the interview I was bailed to reappear pending further enquiries.
I was escorted off of the police premises and left alone with my property bag and possessions within. I was in Hoddesden some considerable distance from my home address. I asked where the High Street was and the PC said he couldn't help as he had only been at the station for 3 weeks. The time was 3am approx. The police were made aware of my chronic nerve pain condition and that I was a disabled and vulnerable person. They did not offer to call a mini cab for me but left me to my own devices. I walked along the deserted side streets of the area and eventually found the High Street. It was lifeless with not a sole in sight. No shops open. It was cold and this worsened the pain I felt in my hand. I walked up and down the high street for an hour or so. I could find no sign of a mini cab office.
I used my samsung business phone to google search a local mini cab office. Having got in touch with one - 01992 469811. I was initially told that there was no chance of getting a car until 6am. The cab operator asked me if I had someone who could pick me up. I said no I have no one. I asked him again and pleaded very politely. He felt sympathy and made an arrangement for a cab to pick me up on condition that I had the fare money up front.
The driver explained to me that it wasn't normal protocol to pick up passengers from the street at that time of night because of safety implications. He also said that XXXX Police Station always call them for suspects released from custody and they picked up because they were satisfied the police knew the identity and address of their passenger. You may ask why I didn't ask for them to call me a mini cab? My answer is three fold - 1) I didn't want to seem like I was calling the shots. 2) I had no confidence that my request would have been taken seriously. 3) I had never been to XXXXX and assumed that a mini cab office would be near. I was wrong, there were none to be found and in fact the whole area was quiet and morose at that time of morning.
The above is a summary of what happened following the incident on 16th Feb 2014..
I called the police enquiry line earlier today (18th Feb 2014).. I was informed that the suspect who I had reported to police for threats to kill had not been arrested. Furthermore, I was told my allegation of crime was not even recorded.
Question - what would happen if the same male (B) were to carry out his threat and cause me serious harm or worse? What if my young daughter is with me? I would like it recorded that I would hold XXXXX Police Force responsible, entirely. For not acknowledging the ongoing neighborly dispute that has resulted in two reports to the police and countless emails to the council.
I am now on bail, and have been ordered not to contact A. I live next door to him. What if he makes a false allegation that I have done so? I will be re-arrested and my life thrown into even more upheaval. What if he provokes me so intensely (playing loud music) and I call the police? Where would any reasonable person's confidence in police action be at this point? Mine is zero. So therefore I would have no choice but to sit through the provocation causing me further distress. After all if I protest, I'll be rearrested and detained.
I feel nervous to report this complaint directly to the police as I already feel that I'm being punished for insisting that my allegation was pursued. After all, I get arrested and it was made clear that if I hadn't been so adamant, then I would not have been.
I appreciate that this complaint may not be looked at until after the case against me has been progressed and finalized. However, I wanted to bring this matter to your immediate attention so that at least it can be filed and recorded appropriately. I would sincerely XXXXX XXXXX if you would acknowledge receipt of this email.
Following the sending of this email, I will send you:
1) - copy of email to council making them aware of previous police incident in which I was assaulted.
2) - audio recording with me and the police sergeant.
3) - audio recording with me and my neighbour (friendly).
I would appreciate if you would consider seizing:
1) - recording of my arrest and subsequent journey to custody. This from the body cam of the PC who later accompanied the female sgt who took my initial allegation. This to prove that it was they who asked me about my previous employment as a police officer. Also, to show the manner in which I conducted myself.
2) - recording of the custody tape, during booking in procedure. This to show the custody sgt making the inappropriate comment regarding my previous employment. Also, to show the manner in which I conducted myself and the level of my cooperation.
3) - a copy of my interview under caution.
4) - Witness statements (including police). It was put to me that A B and C were all fearful that harm would come to them. This despite the goading, laughing, abusive and threatening behaviour. This despite the fact that they knew I was disabled hence the comment about going home to "take my tablets".
5) - recording of my call to the police operator. This to show how calm and compliant I was. If the other parties were caused Harassment, Alarm and Distress the conversation I had with the police operator would give a good insight into my alleged agressive state.
I hope you can help me. I made a report of threats to kill. Having done what I considered to do the right and proper thing, I then reported it to police. I was told that if I pursued it, I would be arrested for criminal damage. When I insisted, I was arrested for public order instead whilst the suspect who made a threat to kill has not been interviewed nor has a crime report been put on.
I maintain that when the police realised there was no criminal damage to answer to, I was arrested for public order as a last resort, This is a flagrant breach of the requirement for police to have remained impartial. I seriously believe that when the sgt realised I was recording her and when my neighbour (friendly) told her I was ex police, that my fate was sealed.
I am a hard working, honorable person with no previous record of criminality. I am disabled and the extent of my nerve pain is so debilitating that is requires high potency medication and regular visits to my GP. I am a decent non confrontational person who can obtain character references from respected members of the community.
I work hard (self employed director for a lettings agency) and lead a quiet tranquil existence. My hobby is my daughter and spending time with her. I do not engage in social activities. Being home with my daughter and spending time with her is what makes me happy. I am very considerate to all of my neighbours and assosciates and ask for nothing in return but to be left in peace. Please obtain a character reference from my neighbours at xxxxxxx. You will be told that it's as if no-one lives at my home because it's so quiet. The severity of my pain means that I spend vast amounts of time sleeping during the day and early evening.
I have been severely let down by a police service I once worked for, loved and respected. I have an impeccable employment record and was awarded a certificate showing exemplary conduct from the Commander of xxxxxx Borough, Met Police. This was issued when I was medically retired. I have an impeccable character and am a good person. The way I was treated by police on Sunday night was appalling.
I needed the help of my local police force on 2 occasions and have been let down. On the second occasion I was arrested. It defies belief and has now left my confidence in the police force at rock bottom.
I am happy to answer any questions or clarify if required to do so. Equally, I am happy to cooperate as I have maintained throughout this whole unpleasant and upsetting experience.
I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX taking the time to read this email. I may call tomorrow to confirm it's safe receipt.
In case of need to contact me. I can be reached on xxxxxxxxxx.