Probe after judge criticises strip-search of woman

A police watchdog has started an investigation after a High Court judge criticised Merseyside Police for strip-searching a woman for "no good reason".

The woman was being held at Belle Vale police station in Liverpool in October last year, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said.

She was convicted by magistrates in Liverpool of assaulting a police officer and a public order offence.

The convictions were quashed on appeal at the High Court, the IPCC said.

Merseyside Police said it was inappropriate to comment while the investigation was continuing.

A spokesman said the judge has said in his judgement "there was no good reason for the woman's arrest, excessive and unreasonable force had been used during the arrest, the woman was strip-searched for no good reason and officers had lied in court".

'Very serious'

Naseem Malik, IPCC commissioner for North West England, added: "In light of the judge's adverse criticism it is important that a wholly independent investigation is conducted into the allegations.

"The allegations are clearly very serious and suggest the mistreatment of this woman while in the custody of Merseyside Police.

"We will thoroughly investigate the woman's arrest and detention to determine whether there is any substance to the allegations."

A spokeswoman for Merseyside Police said: "Merseyside Police can confirm that following an appeal against a conviction, the presiding judge on the case sent a letter to the chief constable regarding the handling of the case.

"The matter was then referred to the IPCC, who are independently investigating it.

"As the IPCC investigation is ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time."

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