Police standards probe launched over arrest of sleeping Sunderland man with fractured arm
An internal police investigation has been launched into the conduct of four officers as they arrested a man in Sunderland.
It comes after magistrates criticised the Northumbria Police officers who arrested Daniel Joyce, 30, as he slept in bed at 5.20am.
Capt Alex Castle, chairman of the bench at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court, said the four officers involved had not “covered themselves in glory”.
And he added “none had behaved as they should have as police officers”.
Police say their Professional Standards Department is investigating the case and they ‘expect the highest standards’ from officers.
It came after officers were called over an assault allegation on Saturday, March 20, but that case did not proceed.
But Joyce did admit headbutting a PC on steps outside his then home in Ravenswood Road, Redhouse, as he was taken away.
He pleaded guilty to assaulting an emergency worker and magistrates briefly adjourned the case to decide sentence.
On their return, and at the behest of defence solicitor Greg Flaxen, they viewed unseen police body worn footage of the arrest.
It showed Joyce having handcuffs applied to his right wrist as he slept in his bed and before any allegation was put to him.
He was then handcuffed fully, with both hands behind his back, when barely awake and wearing only his boxer shorts.
Joyce was also heard repeatedly telling officers he had an injury to his left arm – and reacting when force was applied.
After watching the 12 minutes of footage, magistrates gave him an absolute discharge – and expressed dismay at the officers’ actions.
Capt Castle said: “We are very glad that we’ve watched the CCTV evidence.
“It clearly shows that you were woken up by what appears to be four officers in the room.
“You were handcuffed, with one placed on one hand when you were still asleep. There were four voices shouting at you.
“You told the officers at least 12 times that you had a fractured hand. It’s clear for all to see.
“The four officers on CCTV, none of them have covered themselves in glory.
“None behaved as they should have as police officers.”
Addressing prosecutor Clare Irving, he said: “I ask if that can be fed back to them.”
After being told he was free to leave the court, Joyce, who was facing a jail sentence, wept and said: “Thank you so much.”
Ms Irving had told the hearing Joyce, of Grindon Lane, had grabbed a bannister and lunged at the officer, headbutting him.
But Mr Flaxen criticised police for making the original arrest for the alleged assault.
He said: “I again appear before the court for an assault emergency worker with no other charges.
“Whatever the police were there for, nothing has been done.
“He was going down the stairs and he accepts that he grabbed the handrail. He moved his head to the side, not face to face.”
He added: “It’s the first time I’ve seen an officer placing handcuffs on someone when they are flat out asleep.”
A police spokesman said: “There is currently an ongoing investigation being carried out by our Professional Standards Department in relation to this matter and would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.
"However, we do expect the highest standards from our officers and ensure those who come into police custody are treated fairly and with dignity.
"Our priority is to protect the safety of our detainees and our officers and staff. We adhere to specific measures and strict guidelines to when bringing someone into our care.
"Any instances where it is believed our professionalism has fallen short of our exceptionally high standards then the matter will be investigated and dealt with accordingly.”