St Albans man ‘handcuffed and humiliated’ after false knife accusation

A MAN has lodged complaints with police and a major supermarket chain after they acted on unfounded claims that he possessed a knife.

David Izzard, 48, is so incensed about the incident in the cafe of Sainsbury’s in Griffith Way that he has even taken his complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Shop owner Mr Izzard, who has run the Outdoor Store in St Albans for 22 years, explained that he was queuing up for coffee on November 3 when he noticed a woman staring oddly at him.

Around 15 minutes later police arrived and said they had reports that he was a “suspicious” character before handcuffing him and conducting a search of him and his bag.

Mr Izzard admitted being in shock and making his negative views on the policing system known, but insisted that he fully cooperated with the officers and therefore should not have been handcuffed.

When the officers established that he had not been in possession of an offensive weapon, Mr Izzard refused to have the handcuffs removed as he wanted his wife, who was due to meet him there, to witness the “heavy-handed” nature of his treatment.

But unfortunately his 10-year-old son unexpectedly arrived with her and the whole family was left extremely upset by the incident.

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Mr Izzard said: “We didn’t sleep that night, we just couldn’t. It was the emotional distress on the day and the defamation of character.

“What’s interesting is that I have had a number of crimes happen to me being a shop owner and I always get a letter telling me that I have been a victim of crime and am entitled to counselling. But the one time I could’ve actually done with some counselling, I get nothing.”

He continued: “My personal reputation has been ruined, my business reputation has been damaged also.

“My good name has been called into question, my respectability has been impinged, I and my family have had to suffer emotional distress and sheer embarrassment.”

Mr Izzard is demanding an apology from the police and Sainsbury’s, which he blames for allowing the situation to escalate in the first place by making the unfounded report to police.

A police spokesperson said the force had looked into the incident after receiving a letter.

She continued: “Having looked into the series of events that day, it appears that officers did act in the appropriate manner, given the information received from a member of the public that they believed they had seen him in possession of a knife.

“When presented with information such as this, the officers’ prime concern is to protect the public, themselves and the ‘suspect’. When the man refused to co-operate with officers, it was right to place handcuffs on him in order to safely conduct a search to ensure public safety, particularly in such a public place.

“We can understand that this may have caused some embarrassment, however the search may well have been conducted in a more discreet fashion if he had been co-operative.”

Sainsbury’s declined to make any comment on the matter.