The Chief Constable of Northumbria Police has referred the force to the police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission, over an incident that took place in a custody cell at the South Shields station.
A 25-year-old man, who had been arrested and held on suspicion of a stabbing, was left with bruising to his face during his time in custody - the cause of which is now being investigated.
Two officers have been suspended pending the outcome of the IPCC investigation.
All officers and staff working in South Shields Custody Suite have also been moved elsewhere in the force until the investigation concludes.
"The safety and protection of the public is of paramount importance and that includes anyone brought into custody. We routinely deal with thousands of prisoners each year who come into custody and almost all of these pass through without any incident. Safety and welfare considerations are a key part of the custody process.
"I expect the very highest standards from all officers and staff dealing with the public in any capacity and will not tolerate anything that falls short of this.
– Chief Constable Sue Sim, Northumbria Police
"It is imperative that the public have confidence in their police force and believe that they will be treated fairly and with dignity at all times. Rest assured we will take any appropriate action necessary in respect of this issue.”
– Vera Baird, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner
"I am grateful to the Chief Constable for informing me of this incident today. I commend the swift and decisive action she has taken.
"The IPCC, the statutory body charged with investigating police misconduct, will become involved and I expect them to conduct a thorough inquiry. Such incidents will cause the public concern but I agree with Sue Sim that they are rare in Northumbria Police overall.
"Any culprits found must feel the full force of the law and if this incident points to any poor cultural attitudes, she and I will work together in rooting them out."