Tuesday, June 16, 2015

UK: PR worker, 22, who thought she was being raped when London police officers stripped her and left her naked in a cell while CCTV broadcast her ordeal gets £37,000 damages

It looks like a bitchy dickless Tracy was behind this disgrace. So the cops will go out of their way to protect her

A PR worker who thought she was being raped when Metropolitan Police officers stripped her and left her naked in a CCTV monitored cell has won £37,000 in damages.

The woman, who was 22 at the time of the incident, had been with friends at The Supper Club in Notting Hill, west London, when she says her drink was spiked, leaving her 'distressed and confused.'

She was picked up by police and taken to a police station to be held on suspicion of a public order offence after 'running into the road'.

Once in her cell at a police station in Chelsea, five officers stripped her of her clothes and cut off her bra before leaving her naked for half-an-hour. Her ordeal was captured on CCTV which was broadcast to the station custody desk for others to see.

The woman, who is now 26, never faced criminal charges for the alleged offence due to 'insufficient evidence.'

Speaking anonymously, she said: 'My drink had been spiked and the police should have helped me. 'Instead I remember being in a cell with strange men putting their hands on me and taking my clothes off. 'I believed I was being raped and remember screaming in fear.'

It has since emerged the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was stripped by four male and one female officer.

After having every item of her clothing removed, including her underwear which was cut off, she was left naked in the cell all the while under the watch of CCTV cameras.

She later awoke in hospital to find a police officer at her bedside.

Earlier, she claimed one officer tried to dissuade her from seeking legal advice by telling her she would sooner leave the police station without it.

Police rules state strip searches should only be carried out by members of the same sex and should not take place in cells monitored by CCTV. Detainees should only be stripped of half their clothing at any time.

An Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation found that officers believed the woman was under the influence of drugs and had reason to suspect she was hiding substances 'in her clothing'.

But it revealed no record of the strip search had been recorded by the custody sergeant on duty.

The IPCC recommended the custody sergeant face a gross misconduct hearing and that the five officers involved be subject to misconduct charges.

In a 2013 statement, Commissioner Derek Campbell said: 'This incident caused a great deal of distress to the victim.

'I find it difficult to understand why police officers think they have the right to strip a young woman of all her clothes, leaving her naked for half an hour and then expose her to being filmed. I am sure, like the complainant, the public will want to understand how this was allowed to happen. 'I look forward to the misconduct process getting the answers that are needed.'

However none of the officers ever faced such proceedings. The custody sergeant faced a lesser charge of misconduct. She was later told to familiarise herself with strip search rules and encouraged to seek guidance from her line manager in future.

The Metropolitan Police has not issued an apology to the victim who now lives abroad.

Speaking on her behalf, Claire Hilder of Hodge Jones and Allen condemned the force's handling of the case.

'My client was subjected to a humiliating ordeal at a time when she was clearly vulnerable and in need of medical attention.

'The officers involved acted in clear breach of professional regulations, taking an unjustified, callous and cavalier approach to the strip-search. This incident has caused her significant and lasting distress.

'These violations were totally unjustified and whilst we welcome this settlement my client has as yet received no apology. She has been failed at every stage of her interaction with the Metropolitan Police Service.'

The woman described her treatment as 'unacceptable' but said she was now ready to 'get on with' life.

When contacted about the case, a Metropolitan Police spokesman said: 'The MPS settled a civil claim on Tuesday 28 April. 'The claim arose from an arrest in March 2011. Officers arrested a woman for a public order offence.

'She was charged and bailed to court for four counts of assault on a constable. The matter was discontinued due to insufficient evidence.'

The force has not responded to questions over why it did not heed the advice of the IPCC but said 'misconduct proceedings are ongoing in all cases.'

Human rights campaigners have slammed the force's handling of the case, describing the incident as a 'gross violation'.

Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty, said: 'This case represents a gross violation of a young woman's rights to privacy and not to be degraded under the Human Rights Act.

'It's one thing to settle a damages claim, but the women of London need to trust their police - and they will expect an apology and an explanation as to why misconduct proceedings have not been pursued.'

Original report here

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