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Three officers disciplined over failings in online abuse investigation

Three PSNI officers have been disciplined after the Police Ombudsman uncovered failings in an investigation into a man caught with more than one million indecent images of children.

Simon Hosick was behind one of the largest collections of child sex abuse images ever uncovered in the UK.

He was jailed for a year in 2015 after admitting making and possessing indecent images of children

The Chief Constable referred the matter to the Ombudsman for closer scrutiny and that probe revealed a number of shortcomings in the original investigation.

UTV correspondent Sharon O'Neill reports.

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Serving PSNI officer arrested over alleged misuse of social media

A serving PSNI officer has been arrested by investigators from the Police Ombudsman's Office.

He is being questioned as part of a probe into the alleged misuse of social media by an officer.

The Police Ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire, took the decision to launch the investigation after information came to light.

Last month, The PSNI confirmed they were looking into allegations that a number of people purporting to be police officers had posted offensive messages from their personal Twitter accounts.

This arrest is not connected to that investigation.

Policeman punished over wrongful arrest

A PSNI officer has been disciplined after an administrative error led to a innocent man being wrongfully arrested and his home searched.

Police with shields and firearms were deployed to the wrong address, a family home in Co Down, where they arrested the man in front of his hysterical wife, the Police Ombudsman's report said.

In a complaint to the Ombudsman, the arrested man said he arrived home to find officers in his garden.

He said he was searched and made to wait while armed police with shields and firearms moved towards the house. He added that his wife was in the garden at the time and was hysterical.

The man was then taken inside his house and arrested in connection with a firearms offence which had happened the previous day, before being taken into custody at a local police station.

He was released when police realised he was not the person they were looking for.

Following his release the man lodged a complaint with the Police Ombudsman's Office, stating that he had been wrongfully arrested and that his home had been unlawfully searched.

An investigation into the incident, which took place last year, found that the error was due to an incorrectly recorded date of birth in a handover information pack provided to the officer who organised the search.

The officer who compiled the pack had recorded the name and address of another man of the same name, but mistakenly added the complainant's date of birth.

According to a Police Ombudsman investigator, the officer who co-ordinated the search said she checked the details in the handover pack, but found no one of that name living at the address.

She then searched for a more up-to-date address using the complainant's name and date of birth, which resulted in his arrest and home being searched.

The officer who recorded the wrong date of birth admitted his mistake and apologised to the complainant and his family.

Police later tracked down and arrested the right man.

The Police Ombudsman investigator said, "The mistake had unfortunate consequences for the man and his family.

"I recommended that the officer should receive a disciplinary sanction, and that has since been imposed by the police".

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PSNI cleared over claim woman was ‘stripped and assaulted’ in cell

A Police Ombudsman investigation has rejected a complaint that police stripped and assaulted a female prisoner in a cell at Strand Road police station in Londonderry in December.

The woman also claimed police had failed to take her to hospital after she suffered a seizure, and did not provide her medical records for a subsequent court appearance.

However, when a Police Ombudsman investigator examined audio and video footage from the custody suite it showed that the woman had not been assaulted as she had claimed.

Instead, police staff intervened when the woman removed items of clothing and attempted to use them to inflict self-harm.

Other items in the cell, including a blanket, mattress and pillow were also removed after the woman tried to rip them to create ligatures.

Police staff offered her replacement clothing but this was refused.

Evidence also showed that police had kept the woman under constant observation during her period in custody, and ensured she was seen by a doctor after she reported having suffered a seizure.

In addition, the investigator found that there had been no obligation on police to supply the court with the woman’s medical records.

He concluded that there was no evidence of misconduct by any of the officers or police staff who had dealt with her during her time in custody.

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