Wales

Dyfed-Powys Police: Man gets £40,000 for officer's false allegations

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Media captionThe moment Richard Roberts was arrested by Dyfed-Powys Police

Thousands of pounds have been awarded to a man after claims made against him by a Dyfed-Powys police officer were shown by CCTV to be false.

Richard Roberts from Milford Haven received £40,000 in an out-of-court settlement after it was claimed in a witness statement he was shouting and swearing at the time of his arrest.

He denied the allegations but the force proceeded to charge him.

"I was calm even though I'd been assaulted," he said.

"I had to stay calm for the sake of my partner and the children.

"I was absolutely disgusted when I saw what was said about me - I denied it straight away."

He was arrested in January 2016 as a result of an ongoing dispute with a neighbour when he was living with his partner in Milford Haven.

"I said I had CCTV to back it up. I got charged - I was held for two days and then released.

"A couple of days later, the charges were all withdrawn."

Image caption Mr Roberts received £40,000 from Dyfed-Powys Police in a settlement

The recording had audio and video and contradicted aspects of what was said in the police statement.

PC David Norman was found not guilty of perverting the course of justice at Swansea Crown Court in May 2017.

But a police professional standards department investigation found PC Norman guilty of misconduct.

He was issued a final written warning but not dismissed.

'Drinking heavily'

Mr Roberts then made a personal injury claim against Dyfed-Powys Police.

"My depression went really bad - it still is," he said.

"I started drinking heavily. I was constantly arguing with my partner.

"It caused a lot of friction in the family. I lost a lot of friends because of my moods.

Solicitor Iain Gould specialises in police misconduct cases and represented Mr Roberts in his claim for both false imprisonment and personal injury.

He said: "I am saddened but not surprised that Mr Roberts' valid complaint against PC Norman had such an unsatisfactory outcome.

"I believe that the police disciplinary system is inherently biased in favour of the police.

"Ultimately, Richard Roberts was failed by both the criminal justice system and the police complaints process."

Mr Roberts said he was trying to rebuild his life.

He said: "I still get flashbacks of being locked up. I'm no angel - I was a rebel when I was younger, but all that's stopped now.

"I just want to move on and build a life for myself. I've got total distrust for the police now - I can't trust anyone.

'Report any concerns'

Dyfed-Powys Police Pembrokeshire commander Supt Ross Evans said the case had been dealt with "robustly" and the force had "learned lessons".

"The PC was issued with a final written warning and his performance has been monitored on an ongoing basis," Supt Evans said.

"The public can be confident that the behaviour of all police officers is monitored and scrutinised regularly, both in court and by a panel of independent advisors.

"In addition, all front-line police officers now have body-worn video cameras, which gives a level of protection to members of the public and the officers themselves.

"Since their introduction, complaints against officers have reduced greatly.

"Dyfed-Powys Police as an organisation advocates positive action in respect of any behaviour which falls below the standards expected by the public and the force.

"The force encourages both members of the public and colleagues to report any concerns in respect of the conduct of officers or staff members so that appropriate action can be taken, and any learning can be identified."

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