10:24am Thursday 17th December 2009
AN INVESTIGATION into the treatment of a clergyman arrested on suspicion of child neglect has not been able to substantiate any of his complaints.
Now Bishop Jonathan Blake has filed a private prosecution at Bexley Magistrates’ Court for assault.
Mr Blake complained to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) following his arrest in February this year at his home in Danson Crescent, Welling.
Neighbours called the police after spotting the archbishop of the Open Episcopal Church taking photographs of his two sons perched on the chimney of his house.
Nathan, eight, and Dominic, seven, were being photographed reading books on the roof.
The snaps were intended for a book week competition featuring pictures of people reading in unusual places.
After his arrest, during which Mr Blake claims he was assaulted by officers, the archbishop claimed he was locked without any shoes in a filthy cell with blood on the floor.
He said despite requests, the blood was not cleaned up and he was also refused toilet paper and a pen and paper.
And he claims his cell light was left on all night and he was refused access to washing facilities and to food and water in sealed containers.
After being detained for 24 hours, Mr Blake was released without charge.
Mr Blake’s complaints were investigated for the IPCC by the Met Police’s Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS).
Although it found some malpractices had taken place during Mr Blake’s time in custody, there was no evidence to prove any of his claims.
Because one of the cells in which he was held had no CCTV and the other had only poor quality video with no sound, there was no independent record of Mr Blake’s requests, which were not entered in the custody record.
However, the DPS did find discrepancies in Mr Blake’s custody record.
These included not recording Mr Blake had moved cells, nor that he had been taken from the cells for a meeting with his solicitor.
The record did show the jailer visited Mr Blake’s cell twice during the night to check on him and found him asleep.
But CCTV footage showed no visits were made.
Also, Mr Blake was not provided with alternative footwear when his shoes were taken, in breach of Police and Criminal Evidence Act code of conduct.
Speaking to News Shopper, Mr Blake said the IPCC was “neither independent nor competent”.
He added: “Having complained to the IPCC about police violence, it asked the police to investigate.”
Mr Blake said its staff did not have the expertise to properly question the police witness statements and had been unable to gather independent evidence of what happened in the custody suite.
Mr Blake said he would also be taking civil action against the police.
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