Majority of assault allegations against Herts Police are unsubstantiated, Herts Ad probe reveals

Police out on patrol

Police out on patrol - Credit: Archant

About 900 allegations of assault have been made against the local police force over the past decade - but a fact-finding mission has revealed that just 1.7 per cent have been upheld.

Of the 22 claims of serious non-sexual assault and six allegations of sexual assault made against Herts Police staff by members of the public, all have failed to be substantiated, a Herts Advertiser investigation has shown.

And less than two per cent of complaints of other types of assault levelled against the force’s employees have been substantiated or upheld.

However, no officers were dismissed as a result.

In response to a Freedom of Information (FoI) request submitted by this newspaper, Herts Police said there were six allegations of sexual assault, 22 claims of serious non-sexual assault and 879 alleged incidences of other types of assault recorded between January 2005 and November 2015.

Fifteen of the latter, which refer to allegations of more force being used than is reasonable, resulting in the likes of a black eye, minor bruising or swellings, were upheld or substantiated.

Allegations were made by members of the public and recorded as public complaints, against all staff categories.

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A spokesman for Herts Police said: “All such allegations are taken very seriously and investigated. Should they be substantiated, officers can face disciplinary action.

“Investigations are thorough to not only reassure the public, but to also defend officers against spurious allegations which, alongside physical assaults on officers, are a hazard they can frequently face.”

• According to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), the police have a duty to record complaints made by members of the public about the conduct of a person serving with the police, and about the direction and control of a police force.

• On the IPCC’s website, it shows that the commission is currently investigating the actions of Herts Police officers and staff leading up to the death of a woman in Hemel Hempstead last year. Action was taken in 2013, when IPCC investigators served misconduct notices on nine officers from the Met Police and Herts Police who were in contact with a woman prior to her being found dead in Forest Gate in 2013.

And in 2009, a commissioner’s report into the circumstances surrounding the 2007 death of Patrick Gaughan, a resident of Ridgeview Lodge - a hostel in London Colney - who was found suffering from “excited delirium” concluded there was no evidence that any officer or member of Herts Police staff committed any offence in their restraint of him.