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Police hospitalise detainee and accept breach

Police hospitalise detainee and accept breach

On the 12th August 2017, my client (Mr T) was arrested on suspicion of harassment by Police Officers from Kent Police. Mr T raised no concerns about the legality of his arrest but did however present a claim for Kent Police’s failings at Maidstone Police Station which resulted in him being hospitalised from the 13th August 2017 to the 15th August 2017.

Prior to Mr T’s arrest and when aged 11, he was been diagnosed as a Type 1 Diabetic and is dependent on insulin injections to maintain his life. Mr T has been prescribed Lantus which allows for the slow release of small amounts of insulin which he must take every night before bed. Mr T has also been prescribed NovoRapid which is a quick acting insulin which he needs to take whenever he eats or at mealtimes if he is not eating. Essentially, Mr T’s results should be aiming between 5 and 10. It is imperative that Mr T receives insulin otherwise he will be at risk of developing diabetic ketoacidosis and require hospital admission.

Mr T was examined by Nurse M at 00:16hrs which would now be the early hours of the 13th August 2017. As per the Custody Record, Mr T was arrested at 20:30hrs and arrived at Maidstone Police Station at 21:45hrs. Nurse M did not arrive at Maidstone Police Station until a couple of hours later. As per Nurse M’s examination notes, she documented that she was fully aware that the Mr T has been a Type 1 Diabetic since the age of 11 and that his levels are usually well controlled; around blood glucose level 10. Despite this knowledge, Nurse M failed to recognise the abundantly clear warning sign that Mr T’s blood glucose level was higher than ‘normal’; 14.2 to be precise. In addition and as per Diabetes UK, Nurse M (as a Nurse) should also have been aware that ‘normal’ blood glucose levels may have been 10 for Mr T but the national average is between 4-7 before meals and under 9 after. Clearly, 14.2 was not ‘slightly elevated’ as described by Nurse M and was not within the ‘normal ranges’ as she detailed.

Nurse M should have administered Mr T with his NovoRapid (quick release) which the Claimant brought with him to custody. This would have been a short-term care plan which would have immediately began to decrease the Mr T’s already high blood glucose level. Nurse M decided to not do this and instead requested that Custody Staff retrieve Mr T’s Lantus (slow release) from his home knowing full well that when it was retrieved, she would have returned to her base station 50 miles away and that it is Defendant policy that neither the Claimant nor Custody Staff can administer the same. Even when the Lantus was retrieved, Nurse M did not provide any care plan to Custody Staff as to next steps particularly as she knew that Mr T was ‘likely to remain in custody until Monday’.

Clearly, it was inevitable that the Mr T’s blood glucose level was going to increase without the administering of his vital medication to maintain his life. Nurse M put Mr T’s life in danger and put him at real risk of developing diabetic ketoacidosis and requiring hospital admission. The last reading before Mr T arrived at hospital was 27.9 which is dangerously high; Mr T was then treated in hospital. Eventually, Mr T was discharged back to Maidstone Police Station on the 15th August 2017 with a diagnosis of diabetic ketoacidosis.

As a result of the above, Mr T instructed Mr McConville; a specialist Actions Against the Police Solicitor at Irvings Law to act for him. Mr McConville then engaged with Kent Police on behalf of Mr T in respect of a complaint and thereafter a civil claim for compensation. The reason why a complaint was lodged before Mr T’s claim was because Mr McConville deemed it appropriate for Nurse M to receive disciplinary actions for her negligent actions which could have killed Mr T.

Following investigation of Mr T’s complaint, Kent Police’s Professional Standards Department held that Nurse M’s ‘performance clearly shows that [Kent Police] do care for their detainees and understand the procedures regarding a detainee suffering with diabetes’. For one of a better word, this was farcical in Mr McConville’s opinion and as such Mr McConville lodged an appeal to the IOPC on behalf of Mr T.

Thankfully, the IOPC later upheld the same as in their view, Nurse M failed to put in place an appropriate care plan for Mr T. As a result of this finding, it was recommended that learning should be taken from this incident which has been relayed to Kent Police’s whole Force and they have subsequently agreed to this as they distributed professional development packages for all of their Custody Staff and notifying Nurse M of the said findings. Unfortunately, the IOPC said that due to the passage of time, it would be ‘unequitable to recommend disciplinary proceedings’ but they did not rule that they would not have done so if the passage of time was not what is was.

After Mr T’s complaint investigation had concluded, Mr McConville submitted a Letter of Claim to Kent Police alleging that Nurse M’s negligence caused False Imprisonment and Personal Injury. Mr McConville alleged on behalf of Mr T that this incident was both foreseeable and preventable whereby Kent Police’s failures were obvious. Following the case of Robinson v The Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police [2014] EWCA Civ 15, Kent Police owed a duty to not carelessly cause personal injury to Mr T which they did. Further or in the alternative, Kent Police’s said negligence has also caused Mr T to be kept in custody for much longer than if the said negligence had not occurred.

Upon receipt of Mr T’s above-mentioned Letter of Claim, Kent Police instructed their own Solicitors to act for them. On the 23rd January 2020, Kent Police put forward a Part 36 offer to Mr T in the sum of £1,000.00 in full and final settlement without admitting liability. Mr T rejected the Defendant’s Part 36 offer of £1,000.00 and Mr McConville invited Kent Police to make an increased offer of settlement and / or admit liability failing which, proceedings would be issued. On the 18th February 2020, Kent Police admitted breach of duty to Mr T and further without prejudice settlement discussions took place between Mr McConville and Kent Police’s legal team. Kent Police then made an increased Part 36 offer of £3,000.00 on the 16th March 2020 in full and final settlement to Mr T’s claim. In order to bring matters to a conclusion, Mr T instructed Mr McConville to make a compromised offer to Kent Police to settle his claim in the sum of £5,000.00 by way of Part 36 on the 18th March 2020. The next day (19th March 2020), Kent Police accepted this compromised offer to settle from Mr T.

Posted in AAP Case Reports

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