POLICE have apologised after arresting and imprisoning a youth worker during a dispute over stop and search.
Ken Hinds, of Church Street, Edmonton, who runs youth project Ruff Diamonds, has been awarded £22,000 in an out of court settlement as a result of his High Court action against the British Transport Police.
Mr Hinds, 50, who sits on the Met’s Black Independent Advisory Committee and is chairman of the monitoring group for stop and search in Haringey, brought the claim for false imprisonment and malicious prosecution after being unsatisfied with the progress of his complaint with the BTP. He was also upset that the case had not been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
He was arrested when he stopped to observe a group of police officers from a distance who were searching a black youth.
Mr Hinds said: “I was concerned about him, he looked frightened." He added that the police then used offensive language towards him, to which he replied: "I know my rights."
He added: “One of the officers said to his friend, I’m going to nick him. They put me in tight handcuffs, it was very painful.”
The officers put him in a police van before taking him to Wood Green Police Station and holding him for four hours, before charging him with threatening and abusive behaviour under Section 5 of the Public Order Act.
In witness statements the officers claimed it was Mr Hinds who had become abusive and threatening when they asked him to move on. They said it was he who used offensive language towards them.
However the Section 5 charge was dropped after magistrates raised questions about “identical” words in the two officers’ statements and the bench decided one of the PCs was “not a credible witness”.
Mr Hinds said what upset him most about the experience was that his son, then 12, was left scared and waiting for him for an hour-and-a-half when he went to meet him at the station.
“I asked the policemen if he could say to him to go home, because he was waiting for me and they said they would."
However, Mr Hinds said his son was not informed. “I had four distressing calls from him on my phone,” he said.
In settling, the BTP did not admit liability in the case but did apologise to Mr Hinds.
The judgement read: “The British Transport regrets the circumstances in which Kenneth Hinds was asked to move away from officers conducting a stop and search of a young black male at Seven Sisters Underground Station on 28 May 2004 and wishes to apologise for this."
Mr Hinds said he had nothing wrong and would have been content with an apology after the incident.
He said: “I feel like I’ve been exonerated. I believe they’ve got a bloody nose and it’s hit them where it matters - in the pocket.
"But it’s been a long time coming, and I’m glad I can now put it behind me.”
“I’m hopeful that something good will come from this, but I fear they haven’t really learnt anything. Five years on and they didn’t show any more consideration.”
He added: “The police have got a difficult job and they can make mistakes, but they shouldn't then try and cover it up.”