When the 41-year-old, who had made several complaints about his knee, was eventually examined by a nurse at Falkirk Police Station he was prescribed Paracetamol and Ibuprofen tablets.
The man was later released from custody in the early hours of 29 April 2018 and went to hospital, where he was diagnosed with a fractured knee cap.
The report has recommended that Police Scotland remind the custody officers involved in this case that when a person in custody appears to be suffering from or complaining of an injury, they should make arrangements for them to be examined by a Health Care Professional as quickly as possible.
The PIRC report, published today (2 April 2019), said that the man who had been involved in an incident at a pub in Falkirk town centre on 28 April 2018 went to Falkirk Police Station at 2045 hours to report having been assaulted. When he got there he appeared to be confused and explained to the officer that this was due to a brain injury which had required a titanium plate to be fitted to his head.
Two police officers who had made enquiries at the pub then arrived at the police station. They approached the man with the intention of arresting him in connection with the incident at the pub. The officers took hold of the man who began to struggle. One of the officers then swept the man’s legs from under him which resulted in the man landing with force on his left knee cap.
The report said that during his detention, custody staff were made aware by both the man and the arresting officer on at least 20 occasions over an eight hour period that he had suffered an injury to his leg. CCTV footage also showed the man was provided with crutches and a wheelchair whilst he was in custody before he was examined by the nurse at 0534 hours on 29 April.
The report also found that the man’s custody record was not accurately maintained and the dispensing of the Ibuprofen tablets by custody staff and the man’s repeated complaints about his knee were not recorded. Custody sergeants also failed to create an incident report as required under Police Scotland’s own standard operating procedures.
The incident was referred by Police Scotland to the PIRC on 4 May 2018. The investigation focused on the man’s arrest and his subsequent care and welfare in police custody.
The Commissioner also recommended that Police Scotland should remind custody staff of the importance of maintaining accurate records of all interactions with people in police custody, recording their injuries and paying particular attention to any known conditions.
You can read the full report and findings here.