To follow on from my last post; I was contacted by the Investigating Officer (IO) from Kent Police this morning. He confirmed that their barrister holds the view that my arrest was unlawful. The IO said that being the case then the subsequent search would also have been unlawful. Though the IO never mentioned it I presume that means my detention in the back of the police van was unlawful as well.
What happens next? The IO said that the Professional Standards Department (PSD) of Kent Police would now consider his report and the recommendations he has made. The IO said the PSD would write to me with a copy of the report and with any other information they decide to convey. The IO said that the report may be “sanitised” in parts though felt that it was largely fine as it was.
The IO said that he thought I got a “raw deal” on the day of my arrest. He said that my arrest was in part a consequence of the strong message given to the police on the ground, council officers and such like about being alert to potential terrorist threats. The IO said that as there were quite fortunately few terrorist activities in Kent, regular officers generally have a low level of knowledge of anti terrorist legislation. The IO said that Kent Police has launched county wide awareness raising training of anti terrorist legislation to address this shortfall.
Notwithstanding the general lack of knowledge described the IO said that the officers involved had not in his view acted very sensibly. The IO offered the view that the officer in question had resorted to arrest simply because they could.
The IO apologised for the way I was treated. He thanked me for my patience regarding the time it had taken to reach a decision. He explained that it had taken the time that it had as “special branch” referred to the fact that the burden of proof required to lawfully arrest under terrorist legislation was somewhat less than it is under other legislation. He indicated that they thought my arrest was lawful, which he said went against the findings of his investigation hence referral to legal council.
The call ended.
So now I wait to hear from the Professional Standards Department. I’ll post what I get when I get it. Thanks for the continued interest and support.