LEGAL action against a Melksham police officer, who was jailed, sacked and then eventually cleared has cost Wiltshire Police more than £300,000
Sergeant Mark Andrews was working at Melksham Police Station in 2008 when he was accused of causing actual bodily harm to a female in custody.
He was detained after CCTV footage showed him dragging a detained woman across Melksham police station’s floor and throwing her on to the cell floor. He was later jailed for this in 2010, before being bailed on appeal and later cleared after the High Court quashed the conviction.
Despite being cleared, the Sergeant was dismissed by the force a month later at a disciplinary hearing.
A year later however, he won his job back and the force was ordered to reimburse him for lost earnings.
Two years later Wiltshire Police took an appeal against the reinstatement to a judicial review but this was rejected last November and the judge said Sgt Andrews should be re-employed. Andrews has since returned to work in a role, at his request, with limited public contact.
This whole process cost the force £302,924 after figures were released under the Freedom of Information Act. This is for the period between July 2008 when the incident occurred and April 2013 when it reached its conclusion. This figure was reached due to the use of external lawyers and consultants for legal advice on the case.
Wiltshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Angus Macpherson, said members of the former Wiltshire Police Authority were “unanimous” in deciding on legal proceedings to reflect the public concern following the screening of the custody CCTV. He said, “There was clear legal advice to the effect that there was a reasonable prospect of success.”
Chief Constable Patrick Geenty maintains the police authority took appropriate action. He said, “The proceedings inevitably incurred costs. It is important to note, however, that out of this figure, only a proportion was spent on the judicial review.
“The judicial review was the only part of the entire process which Wiltshire Police undertook voluntarily.”