Thursday, September 18, 2008

Police pay 600K in compensation for wrongful arrests

POLICE forces in Wales paid out more than £600,000 in compensation for wrongful arrests and other civil claims over the past two years.

The largest payouts, totalling £556,700, were made by South Wales Police, according to details obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

South Wales Police saidtold Leanne Wood that its payouts related to claims stretching back to 1997.

A total of 59 payments were made from Welsh forces with 29 relating to South Wales, 12 to North Wales, 10 to Gwent and eight to Dyfed-Powys in the 2006-07 and 2007-08 financial years.

Over the same period no police officers were disciplined for wrongful arrest.

Leanne Wood, Plaid AM for South Wales Central, said: “South Wales Police force area covers the largest population of Wales, including the principal cities of Cardiff and Swansea. But it is a matter of concern that large sums of public money have been paid out by South Wales Police to resolve claims made by members of the public.

“It is also important to realise that the payouts made mean there is an acceptance that someone has been wrongly arrested or treated and that does have a major impact on people’s lives.”

Ms Wood said she would be writing to Chief Constable Barbara Wilding to ask for an explanation of the high level of payouts in the force area.

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