Arrestee dies after cops fail to provide appropriate clothing: report

Local | 28 Oct 2021 8:18 pm

An arrestee died of pneumonia after police failed to provide enough clothing for him, the police watchdog said as they classified the complaint as substantiated in a latest report.

The Independent Police Complaints Council submitted a report to the Legislative Council on Thursday. In one of the cases, a man was arrested for possession of dangerous drug after police found such items in a pocket of his trousers.

At the police station, a sergeant demanded to seize the trousers of that man as an exhibit, and gave him a pair of shorts personally owned by the sergeant to wear instead.

The next day the man's daughter brought the arrested man some clothes, including a jacket, a shirt and a pair of jeans. Yet a police constable only accepted the jacket without seeking instructions from the sergeant, not explaining to the daughter why he did not accept the shirt and the pair of jeans.

When appearing in the court room, the daughter noticed her father was not wearing the jacket. Her father was later released on court bail. The man passed away due to pneumonia two days later.

The allegation was classified as substantiated, as the constable had neglected his duty to follow the stipulated procedures to seek advice from the sergeant before deciding whether to accept the daughter's request for providing extra clothing to her father.

The Complaints Against Police Office also registered an additional count of substantiated other than reported against the sergeant, as the sergeant didn't make any effort to provide equivalent clothing to the arrested man after seizing his trousers. It was inappropriate that he only provided his own shorts to the arrested man.

The council then recommended the police reviewing existing measures and addressing issues including what officers should do when essential clothing is seized from an arrested person, and the follow-up arrangements to provide suitable replacement for essential clothing.



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