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IPCC decision: police used ‘proportionate force’ in woman’s arrest

Issue No. 2084

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) last week ruled that no action is to be taken against any police officers as a result of the arrest of a young woman outside a Sheffield nightclub.

The arrest was captured on CCTV. It showed Toni Comer being punched five times by a police officer. The IPCC concluded that the police used “justified and proportionate force” in her arrest in July 2006.

Toni alleged she had been assaulted by two police officers during her arrest on suspicion of causing criminal damage outside the Niche nightclub in Sheffield.

“The CCTV footage clearly shows officers using force during an arrest,” said Nicholas Long, IPCC commissioner for Yorkshire and Humberside.

“This incident received extensive media coverage and provoked debate about alleged police aggression and racism. However, this was an incident in which police officers were dealing with a person who had been causing criminal damage and did not want to be arrested.

“Police officers are entitled by law to use justified and proportionate force to arrest someone who is being aggressive and actively resisting arrest. I must stress that no complaint of racism was made by Ms Comer or her family.”

The IPCC did uphold Toni Comer’s complaint that “the review of her detention in custody was conducted outside the required timescale”.

Peter Mahy, Toni Comer’s solicitor, said the decision “is bound to fuel further public concern about the police’s use of force. Ms Comer has never had any confidence in the police complaints system and her scepticism has proved to be well-founded, given today’s decision.”

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Tue 15 Jan 2008, 17:58 GMT
Issue No. 2084
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