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Young man claims police locked him up for filming on-duty officers

The Mail on Sunday reported yesterday that a 20-year-old man, Jake Coplestone, is claiming Wiltshire police locked him up overnight because he filmed some on-duty officers apparently taking a break.

Coplestone, who played ruby for south-west England under-16s, claims he saw five on-duty police officers gathered in a Marlborough café-bar one evening this September. He filmed them with his phone, but was spotted doing so and approached by two of the officers.

The Mail reports that Coplestone, supported in his account by friends who were present, says the officers discussed whether to arrest him under Section 60 of the Public Order Act, which relates to police stop and search powers.

If there is a specific Section 60 authorisation for an area made by a senior officer, anyone within the vicinity may be stopped and searched. If this authorisation has not been issued, for example, because of rioting or a rowdy football match, the police should have a good reason for using this procedure.

However, it is alleged that after Copestone protested, the police accused him of being drunk and disorderly under Section 91 of the Criminal Justice Act, and arrested him on that basis instead.

Being drunk and disorderly in a public place is a minor offence, which the police in England and Wales can deal with by issuing a fixed penalty notice for disorder (PND), amounting to £80 or £40 for adults. Paying this penalty does not amount to an admission of guilt and will not generate a record of criminal conviction.

Coplestone told the Mail he was then handcuffed and taken to a police station in Swindon. He claims he asked several times to be breathalysed to prove he was not drunk, but was refused as the Wiltshire force only breathalyses drink-driving suspects. Thereafter, he was put in a cell overnight and released the next day.

Coplestone’s mobile phone was only returned to him ‘on condition’ he paid an £80 fixed penalty. He says he found the phone had been tampered with and appeared disabled. However, he managed to retrieve the video of the officers in the café.

Coplestone says he believes someone may have tried to delete the video from his phone, and denies being drunk and disorderly. He told the Mail: “I’m discussing what to do, including court action and a complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, with my solicitor.”

Wiltshire Police dispute Coplestone’s account. However, Chief Superintendent Paul Mills, Head of Local Policing, has stated that the matter will be investigated by the Force Professional Standards Department.

On the face of it, this does seem to suggest some heavy-handedness on the part of the police; so the outcome will be awaited with interest.

Original story:

The Daily Mail

 

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