South West Wales

Police 'exemplary' before Cardiff homeless man's death

A police watchdog investigation into contact officers had with a homeless man before his death in a car park has found they acted in an "exemplary" way.

Bryan Saltmarsh, 47, was found at the NCP car park in Wood Street, Cardiff on 27 April, two days after two officers were called to a hostel in Roath.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission said officers were called to evict him over safety concerns.

The officers took him to a homeless shelter and made sure he was safe.

Complaints that Mr Saltmarsh should have been sectioned under the Mental Health Act were rejected.

An inquest found that he died from long-term difficulties with alcohol and drugs.

IPCC commissioner for Wales Tom Davies said: "My condolences go to the family and friends of Bryan Saltmarsh, who died in sad circumstances.

"Our investigation was very thorough and has proven that the two police officers who were called to the hostel treated Mr Saltmarsh with care and courtesy.

"These officers also ensured that Mr Saltmarsh was taken where he could be provided with shelter.

"The officers rightly decided that they did not have the power to detain Mr Saltmarsh under the provisions of the Mental Health Act and the paramedics, who also attended the hostel at the request of the officers, agreed that he was not a danger to himself or others.

Mr Davies added: "The coroner at the inquest held in Cardiff on 5 August 2010 also found that the two officers' treatment of Mr Saltmarsh was exemplary.

"I am therefore commending their high standard of work to South Wales Police and hope that they receive appropriate recognition."

A senior housing officer at a Cardiff hostel contacted the police on 25 April and requested that Mr Saltmarsh, who originally from Manchester, be evicted and sectioned because of concerns for his and the safety of staff members.

A hostel staff member complained to the IPCC and alleged that Mr Saltmarsh attempted to stab himself with a pair of scissors in front of the officers.

She also said Mr Saltmarsh should have been detained under the Mental Health Act. An ex-partner of Mr Saltmarsh also subsequently made a similar complaint.

Both complainants did not witness the officers' interaction with Mr Saltmarsh as neither were at the hostel at the time.

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