Hatfield stop and search ‘within the law’, says Chief Inspector

PUBLISHED: 16:47 07 December 2018 | UPDATED: 16:49 07 December 2018

A man was stopped and searched in Hatfield town centre. Picture: Google Street View

A man was stopped and searched in Hatfield town centre. Picture: Google Street View

Google Streetview

Police say a stop and search in Hatfield was “within the law” and concerned eyewitnesses have been invited to review CCTV and understand why stop and searches take place.

Welwyn Hatfield Chief Inspector Tannis Perks told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “Following concerns raised by members of the public regarding a stop and search in Hatfield town centre, CCTV footage and body worn footage of the stop was reviewed by senior officers who established that officers acted proportionately and within the law.

“The members of the public have been contacted by an inspector and invited to view the CCTV footage.

“The incident involved a 20-year-old man from Welwyn Garden City who was stopped by officers on patrol at around 2pm on Tuesday (November 4).

“The search was carried out under Section 23 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

“The man was initially resistant and reasonable force was used by officers to remove him from his bicycle.

“He has since been in touch with police to raise concerns about the stop and search and these are being looked into.”

Following the stop and search, a 70-year-old man contacted the Welwyn Hatfield Times after witnessing it take place, raising concerns about the level of force used.

He has since met with police and reviewed CCTV.

He said: “I witnessed what I considered to be a violent attack on a young guy in the town centre and several other people were making observations and complaints.

“I know why it happened now.

“I watched an efficient operation by the police.

“They justified to me what they did.

“They were heavy handed.

“It was really over the top and what really shocked me was perhaps the way they do it these days, but at the time I had no knowledge of why they were doing it.”

Nothing was found on the young man when the stop and search took place in Hatfield, however he is due to appear crown court this month in connection with a drug offence.

The man is accused of being concerned in the supply of a controlled drug (Class A).

The man told the Welwyn Hatfield Times he had lodged a formal complaint about the stop-and-search process that day.

He said: “I was grabbed and told to get off my bike.”

He said he asked officers why he was being asked to get off his bike, and claims that instead of answer, they dragged him off his bike, threw him against a shop window and handcuffed him.

He claims he was “struck in the face and ribs” in the process.

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