Man with fractured knee spent eight hours of painful custody in Falkirk Police Station with no medical treatment

A report from a police watchdog has found officers repeatedly failed to provide medical assistance to a man who suffered a fractured knee during his arrest.

The findings by the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) state the 41-year-old, who had made 20 complaints about his knee, was eventually examined – after eight hours in custody – by a nurse at Falkirk Police Station and was prescribed Paracetamol and Ibuprofen tablets.

The man was later released from custody in the early hours of April 29 last year and went to hospital, where he was found to have a fractured knee cap.

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The PIRC report, published today, recommended Police Scotland remind custody officers involved in this case 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 said the man, who had been involved in an incident at a pub in Falkirk town centre on April 28, 2018 went to Falkirk Police Station at 8.45pm to report he had been assaulted.

He appeared to be confused and explained to the officer this was due to a brain injury which had required a titanium plate to be fitted to his head.

When officers arrived back at the police station from the pub in question they approached the man and attempted to arrest him in connection with the incident in the pub.

The man began to struggle with police and one officer swept the legs out from under him, causing him to land with force on his left knee cap.

The report said during his time in 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 while he was in custody before he was examined by the nurse at 5.34am on April 29.

The report also found 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 May 4 2018 and the resulting investigation focused on the man’s arrest and his subsequent care and welfare in police custody.

The Commissioner recommended Oolice 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.