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4 July 2013, 08:08
Investigation after a man arrested on suspicion of a stabbing suffered bruises to his face while in custody at South Shields police station.
Northumbria Police have referred the incident at South Shields police station in South Tyneside on June 22nd to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
The cause of the 25-year-old detainee's bruises is under investigation and two detention officers have been suspended pending the outcome of the IPCC inquiry.
The force said the suspensions did not infer any misconduct had taken place.
As well as suspending the officers, any other custody staff who may have had contact with the arrested man have been relocated within the force until the independent investigation is complete.
In a statement, the force said that all officers and staff working in the South Shields custody suite, "irrelevant of whether or not they had contact with the detained man, have been moved until the outcome of any investigation is known''.
This includes those in some managerial roles.
Chief Constable Sue Sim told Capital
"The safety and protection of the public is of paramount importance and that includes anyone brought into custody.
We routinely deal with thousands of prisoners each year who come into custody and almost all of these pass through without any incident.
Safety and welfare considerations are a key part of the custody process.
I expect the very highest standards from all officers and staff dealing with the public in any capacity and will not tolerate anything that falls short of this.
It is imperative that the public have confidence in their police force and believe that they will be treated fairly and with dignity at all times.
Rest assured we will take any appropriate action necessary in respect of this issue.''
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird said:
"I am grateful to the Chief Constable for informing me of this incident today.
I commend the swift and decisive action she has taken.
The IPCC, the statutory body charged with investigating police misconduct, will become involved and I expect them to conduct a thorough inquiry.
Such incidents will cause the public concern but I agree with Sue Sim that they are rare in Northumbria Police overall.
Any culprits found must feel the full force of the law and if this incident points to any poor cultural attitudes, she and I will work together in rooting them out."