Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - formerly IPCC)
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Misconduct proven for Dorset Police officers for encouraging man to admit drug offence

Two Dorset Police officers have been given written warnings after persuading a man to admit possessing drugs found at a property in Blandford.

An armed response unit attended the address to arrest the man in connection with other offences. Body worn video shows the man was apprehended, handcuffed, cautioned and asked to sit on a sofa in the lounge of the property while officers completed their enquiries.

One of the officers found a small bag of cannabis on the table of the property and along with another officer, encouraged the man to admit to possessing it so as not to get the property owner in trouble.

The man was charged with possession of cannabis as well as other offences, but the drugs charge was later dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Regional Director Catrin Evans said: “It is clear from the evidence gathered that the man did not freely admit to possessing the cannabis and was coerced by two of the officers who attended the address.

“While their actions did not support a claim of bullying, the behaviour fell below the standards expected of police officers. By encouraging the man into admission the officers did not respect his rights, and the evidence was later deemed potentially inadmissible and the CPS decided to discontinue prosecution of this offence.”

We found cases to answer for misconduct for two officers, which was agreed by Dorset Police. Misconduct was proven at their misconduct meetings run by the force and they were given written warnings.

A referral was made by Dorset Police in August 2018 but we could not begin our investigation until December 2018 due to sub-judice concerns. Our investigation concluded in July 2019 and we have awaited misconduct proceedings before issuing our findings.

A summary of our investigation can be found here.

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