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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

Attempted suicide in Police cells

14 February 2019

In May 2018 a man was arrested and taken to Thames Police Station. He was placed in a cell without his health and safety being properly evaluated.

In the cell, the man became increasingly distressed. He had a cut on his hand at the time he was arrested. A significant amount of blood splattered on the cell walls and floor. The man refused treatment for the cut. Officers spoke with the man but did not increase the frequency of his checks.

Later, officers saw the man on CCTV, trying to strangle himself using his singlet. They removed the singlet and called an ambulance, although the man was conscious and appeared to be unharmed. Ambulance staff checked the man and confirmed that he was uninjured.

Police conducted an investigation into the incident which the Authority oversaw and reviewed.

The investigation found that officers at Thames Police Station did not follow Police policy for assessing risk for people detained in cells and did not use the Police electronic assessment system properly. Police debriefed the officers involved and explained what is expected of them.

The Police cells at Thames Police Station were found to be unsafe. Police have since renovated the cells.

The Authority agreed with the outcome of the Police investigation.

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