Strip search of boy, 16, at centre of misconduct hearing

Police vehicle
Image caption The teenager was strip searched in the back of a police van with no responsible adult present

A teenage boy was wrongly strip searched in the back of a police van without a responsible adult present, it has emerged.

A police misconduct panel heard the 16-year-old was strip searched three times in a single month in Southend in 2014.

Both PC Ian Patterson and PC Michael Brimfield admit breaches in duties and responsibilities.

The four-day misconduct panel will decide whether or not those breaches amounted to gross misconduct.

Stephen Morley, for Essex Police, told how the case came to light following a complaint from the mother of the teenager, referred to as Boy R.

Boy R was first arrested by PC Brimfield on 4 August 2014 while he was sat in the car of a suspected drug dealer, referred to as Mr K during the hearing in Harlow.

Boy R and Mr K were taken to Southend Police station and strip searched, said Mr Morley.

'Swallowed cannabis'

PC Brimfield admits asking Boy R to squat while being searched, which is contrary to police guidelines, Mr Morley said.

He was again strip searched by PC Patterson who spotted Boy R just two days later, again after he was seen in a car connected with Mr K.

The third strip search, which involved both police officers and other colleagues, happened on 17 August in Beach Road, Southend.

Although both officers knew his age, said Mr Morley, he was strip searched in the back of a police van, which is against police regulations, and again without a suitable adult present.

Boy R was found to have cannabis, which he swallowed before being taken to hospital.

The panel was told there was no suggestion that the searches themselves were inappropriate, merely that they should have taken place in the proper place and with a responsible adult present.

The hearing continues.

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