Custody CCTV footage can often be helpful in an actions against the police claim.
Every police station in the country has a CCTV system in place recording everything that happens in the custody suite. Not only does the footage produced by the system provide vital evidence about a Claimant’s general demeanor immediately post-arrest, but it can also confirm or disprove the arresting officer’s initial arrest account. Often it contradicts the stated position of the police in correspondence, for example if they deny allegations of assault, leading to compensation being paid for the police’s wrongdoing.
Consequently, it is vitally important that custody CCTV footage is retained and made available to the Claimant and his actions against the police solicitor as soon as possible.
Many police forces operate a system whereby their CCTV footage is deliberately wiped after 90 days. In these days of digital technology, I often wonder why.
Also, increasingly I am coming across situations where CCTV footage is being wiped, despite my request within time that relevant CCTV footage be preserved. Excuses I have received recently include:
‘The Custody suite footage whilst requested by yourselves prior to the expiry of the 90 day period was addressed to the incorrect staff…’;
‘Your letter was received but unfortunately not acted upon…’ and;
‘there is no CCTV footage available as data was not captured due to technical difficulties…’
I have no doubt that these excuses are tactical, as they prevent access to evidence which may assist the Claimant and harm the police’s defence.
We all have an interest in how public funds are spent. If CCTV evidence will assist in early settlement of a claim that is in everyone’s best interests, especially the police’s, who will save money and time. Equally, if it contradicts the Claimant’s version of events, that should be known by his solicitor as soon as possible, who may take a different view as to the prospects of success. In short: custody CCTV footage should be retained and produced in every actions against the police case. Failure to do so can only be viewed with suspicion.