Police Knife Assault Victim Wins Apology From Chief Constable

Wrongfully Arrested

21.04.2010

Police Knife Assault Victim Wins Apology From Chief Constable

An arthritis sufferer who had a knife held to his throat by police officers when he was wrongfully arrested at his home has received an apology from the force's chief constable.

Anthony Colcomb, from Chatham in Kent, was arrested after an allegation of robbery by two officers who were subsequently convicted of assault over the incident at his home.

No charges were ever brought against Mr Colcomb and he has now received a full apology from Kent's Chief Constable and an out-of-court settlement of £14,000 after taking legal action through experts at Irwin Mitchell, who also secured assurances from the force that lessons would be learnt from the unlawful treatment he suffered.

Sgt Oliver Tingley and PC Luke Barlow dragged 57-year-old Mr Colcomb into his kitchen, threatened him by holding a knife against his throat and sat on him while shouting in his face, after arriving at his home in August 2008.

Mr Colcomb was then taken to Medway police station, where he was detained for 3½ hours before being released. Both officers were later charged with assault and found guilty at Sittingbourne Magistrates Court in April 2009, with Sgt Tingley being jailed for 90 days and PC Barlow ordered to serve 300 hours of community service.

A police investigation into the matter found the police officers who attended Mr Colcomb's home did not follow the correct procedures when arresting or cautioning him and were therefore not acting in the lawful execution of their duty at his home at any time.

Last month Mr Colcomb received a letter sent on behalf of the Chief Constable of Kent Police acknowledging that he had been treated unlawfully and offering a personal apology. It goes on to say that there are 'clearly important lessons to be learned by the Organisation arising from this matter'.

He said: "It was absolutely terrifying. One officer threw me onto my sofa and sat on me while he shouted in my face. I couldn't move at all.

"Then when he had finished the other one dragged me into my kitchen and pulled a knife out. I was scared stiff, thinking what's he going to do with this knife?"

He added: "I am still amazed and disgusted by what happened and hope that I can now get on with my life. I sincerely hope the police do learn from this so that no other innocent people have to go through the same ordeal I have."

Iftikhar Manzoor, Mr Colcomb's legal representative at Irwin Mitchell, said: "There is a strict limit on how much force Police officers are allowed to use and in this case the officers in question went far in excess of any reasonable force.

"The police are there to enforce the law and protect the British public from harm, and Kent police have some very important lessons to learn from this case to ensure something like this can never happen again. It’s totally unacceptable to have officers going round threatening people and taking the law into their own hands."

If you believe you have been unfairly treated or unlawfully arrested by the police, our police complaints solicitors could help you claim compensation. See ourProtecting Your Rights page for more information or inquire online.