The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is investigating a complaint regarding the treatment of an 11-year-old girl suffering from Smith-Magenis Syndrome, a genetic condition with symptoms similar to autism, by Sussex Police.
Sussex Police officers came into contact with the girl on five occasions between 2 February and 2 March 2012 in Horsham and the surrounding area. On each occasion she was physically restrained by police officers. On all but one of these occasions she was arrested and taken to police stations, and twice she was held overnight.
The girl's mother complained to the IPCC in July 2012 about the police management of the incidents, the methods of restraint used on her daughter which appear to have included handcuffs and leg restraints, and the decisions to hold her in police station cells overnight. Sussex Police then referred the matter to the IPCC on 12 December 2012 and an independent investigation commenced.
IPCC Commissioner Mike Franklin said:
"The IPCC investigation is examining the nature and circumstances of the officers' interaction with the girl on five separate occasions in February and March 2012 to determine whether the degree of force and method of restraint used by officers was appropriate and in accordance with the law, the officers' training and force policy and procedure.
"The investigation is also looking at the appropriateness of the decision to place the girl in police cells on four occasions and to refer her to the Crown Prosecution Service for charging on one occasion.
"These are very serious complaints about the treatment of an 11-year-old girl suffering from Smith-Magenis Syndrome and I will ensure that they are investigated thoroughly.”
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