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23 March 2012, 05:30
A Durham Constabulary officer and member of staff have been found guilty of assault by beating after an investigation by the IPCC.
50 year old Sergeant Stephen Harvey, and Custody Detention Officer 61 year old Michael Mount, 61 - both of whom are based at Peterlee Police Station - were convicted following a two-day trial at Teesside Magistrates Court.
Sgt Harvey and CDO Mount will be sentenced on 20th April 2012.
The charges related to an allegation that a 48-year-old man was subjected to excessive and unreasonable force while in custody at Peterlee Police Station on 5 March 2011.
The IPCC independently investigated the incident and determined that Sgt Harvey had used an arm lock to get compliance from the detainee so he would answer questions.
The investigation found that CDO Mount followed Sgt Harvey's lead and also applied force to the detainee to get him to answer questions. The IPCC presented a file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service who decided to bring criminal charges.
In addition to the findings against Sgt Harvey and CDO Mount, the IPCC investigation also concluded two police constables who were present in the custody suite when the incident happened have a case to answer for misconduct for not challenging the actions of Sgt Harvey and CDO Mount.
IPCC Commissioner Nicholas Long said:
"A detained person is not under obligation to answer questions. It would appear Sgt Harvey and CDO Mount had forgotten this and decided it was necessary to try to gain compliance through the use of force.
It is sad and frankly astonishing that in the 21st Century experienced members of the police service believed inflicting pain as a way of eliciting responses to questions was acceptable.
I consider it completely unacceptable and it could be argued their actions amounted to a form of torture."