A police watchdog has found an officer used ‘unnecessary force’ on a man in custody, but a Greater Manchester Police (GMP) tribunal cleared him of misconduct.

An Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation found the officer struck Neville Edwards, four times, while he was in custody at Longsight police station in 2015.

The IPCC directed Greater Manchester Police to hold disciplinary proceedings for misconduct last September.

Neville Edwards being restrained in police cell at Longsight station

Earlier this month a GMP panel found the officer, a Custody Detention Officer (CDO), was not guilty of misconduct.

Mr Edwards was held in custody between 16 and 17 July 2015 for allegedly being drunk and disorderly on Princess Road, Whalley Range.

Neville Edwards
Neville Edwards

He later complained two police officers used excessive force on him while he was in a prison cell.

During the struggle Mr Edwards bit a police sergeant and he was charged with assault causing actual bodily harm.

Neville Edwards at Longsight station

He was later sentenced to 12 months in jail for the offence.

But the IPCC investigation found Mr Edwards was struck by the CDO before the biting took place.

The findings said the CDO used ‘unnecessary force’ and would have to undergo a misconduct hearing.

Another police officer, who struck him on the back and applied a pressure point to his jaw, carried out the action after the biting incident.

Neville Edwards being restrained

The IPCC ruled this officer, a sergeant, did not have a case to answer for misconduct.

The report said: “CDO A’s body movements suggest that he was trying to use his hands to control Mr Edwards’ feet.

“He then used his right arm to strike Mr Edwards in the upper leg area. CDO A then struck Mr Edwards’ in his upper leg area four times with his right knee.”

IPCC Commissioner Jan Williams said: “This was a thorough investigation looking at serious allegations against Greater Manchester Police officers.

“The decision to direct misconduct proceedings – never taken lightly – ensured that the custody detention officer’s actions were properly held to account.”

Chf Spt Annette Anderson, from GMP’s Professional Standards Branch, said: “The IPCC directed GMP to take disciplinary proceedings in relation to the conduct of a GMP custody detention officer.

“A misconduct meeting was held on the 17 August 2017 and the panel found the case not proven.”

Mr Edwards welcomed the IPCC ruling, but said the decision of the GMP panel was ‘nothing short of an injustice’.

He said he is seeking legal advice on potential civil action against the force – and a private prosecution of the custody detention officer.