Police’s £30k bill to replace toilets after man lost fingertips in scuffle

Custody suites across Essex have had toilets replaced in them. Photo: PA Wire

Custody suites across Essex have had toilets replaced in them. Photo: PA Wire - Credit: PA

Essex Police has spent £30,000 replacing toilets after a man lost his fingertips during a struggle while in custody.

A factory worker suffered the injury while being detained at Colchester police station in the early hours of May 1 last year.

As the man, 33, held onto the rim of the metal toilet bowl with his left hand while several officers restrained him, the tops of three fingers on his left hand were severed.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is investigating the incident, and has warned six officers they face a criminal investigation into what happened.

Deputy police and crime commissioner for Essex Lindsay Whitehouse, speaking in June, said the force had told him it was carrying out a review of toilet facilities and would carry out the necessary replacement work.

Now Essex Police has confirmed it had replaced 60 toilets of the same make in its custody suites across the county.

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Each toilet cost £500 to replace, as well as installation costs covered by existing works contracts.

The IPCC case is looking at the appropriateness of restraint used by officers, including whether their actions contributed to the man’s injuries, and whether any first aid was provided before he was taken to hospital.

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It is also considering whether the man’s mental health or nationality influenced the officers’ actions, and look at why there was a delay of around five hours to retrieve and transport the severed fingertips to hospital and a delay of around seven hours in referring the matter to the IPCC.

It is understood efforts to reattach the man’s fingertips failed.

The IPCC said its investigation into the incident was ongoing.

Essex Police revealed in its latest misconduct report, published last week, that one officer remains suspended from duty following the incident, while a member of police staff who was under investigation for making inappropriate comments after the episode has resigned from the force.

The force said it could not comment while an IPCC investigation was continuing.

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