The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is investigating a complaint from the mother of an 11-year-old girl, about the way her daughter has been handled by Sussex Police.
The child, whose name has not been revealed, has Smith-Magenis Syndrome which has symptoms similar to autism.
Officers came into contact with the girl five times between 2nd February and 2nd March 2012 in Horsham and the surrounding area. Each time she was physically restrained, on four of those occasions she was arrested and taken to a police station. She was held overnight two times.
The girl's mother complained in July 2012 about police management of the issue, the way her daughter was restrained 'which appear to have included handcuffs and leg restraints' and the decisions to hold her in cells overnight. Sussex Police referred the case to the IPCC on 12th December 2012.
"The IPCC investigation is examining the nature and circumstances of the officers' interaction with the girl on five separate occasions in February and March 2012 to determine whether the degree of force and method of restraint used by officers was appropriate and in accordance with the law, the officers' training and force policy and procedure.
– IPCC Commissioner Mike Franklin
"The investigation is also looking at the appropriateness of the decision to place the girl in police cells on four occasions and to refer her to the Crown Prosecution Service for charging on one occasion.
"These are very serious complaints about the treatment of an 11-year-old girl suffering from Smith-Megenis Syndrome and I will ensure that they are investigated thoroughly.”