Six police officers face misconduct proceedings after young woman left naked in cell
Distressed 22-year-old clubber searched by one female officer and four males, against regulations
Wednesday 31 July 2013
Six police officers should face misconduct proceedings after a clubber was strip-searched and left naked in a cell filmed by CCTV cameras, a watchdog said today.
The 22-year-old woman was searched by one female and four male officers at Chelsea police station in London in March 2011, against regulations that police should be the same sex as those they strip-search.
She was left naked for half an hour in a cell that was covered by CCTV, with the images broadcast to the station's custody desk, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said.
IPCC Commissioner Derrick 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."
The watchdog said that the woman, who was arrested outside Supperclub in west London, was "intoxicated, distressed and running in and out of a road" when she was arrested.
Officers believed she was on drugs and might have illegal substances hidden in her clothing, the IPCC found.
It said that the police sergeant on duty should face a charge of gross misconduct for failing to make a written record of the strip search or make sure that it was carried out in line with the rules.
Five constables should face misconduct proceedings for breaching the guidelines for searches, while another two should face "management action", an internal measure.
One is accused of potentially discouraging her from getting legal advice by implying that she would have to stay at the police station for longer if she did so.
It is claimed that the other failed to investigate her claim that her drink was spiked at the club.
The woman complained about her treatment to Scotland Yard, which carried out its own investigation, but she was unhappy with the findings and so went to the IPCC.
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