Birmingham & Black Country

Payout for Birmingham teacher after unlawful arrest

A Birmingham teacher who was unlawfully arrested after being accused of assaulting a pupil has been awarded £1,000 compensation at the High Court.

Mark Richardson, 39, who said the boy had walked into his outstretched arm, was arrested even though he volunteered to be interviewed by police.

No prosecution was brought and he sued West Midlands Police, fearing the stain the arrest would leave on his record.

The force said it was investigating the handling of the 2009 case.

'Landmark decision'

As well as claiming he was unlawfully arrested, Mr Richardson also wanted West Midlands Police to destroy DNA samples, fingerprints and photographs taken at the time and for his arrest entry on the Police National Computer (PNC) to be deleted or amended.

Mrs Justice Slade ruled that Mr Richardson's arrest was unlawful but declined his other requests, noting that the force said it would "take it properly into account when making any decision as to a request by the claimant for destruction or removal" of fingerprints and DNA.

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said she would be writing to the secretary of state for education and the home secretary to seek changes to national procedures.

"This is a landmark decision for teachers and others who are vulnerable to allegations made by children and young people," she said.

"New guidance for police is needed urgently to prevent these needless arrests that wreck innocent people's careers.

"Teachers are vulnerable to allegations made by pupils.

"Such allegations frequently involve police investigation.

"The overwhelming majority prove to be false but teachers are often deeply traumatised and their career is blighted."

'Disciplinary process'

The court heard a complaint was lodged alleging Mr Richardson assaulted the pupil at a school in the West Midlands in December 2009.

The boy claimed he had been assaulted but Mr Richardson was adamant the pupil had walked into his outstretched arm as he tried to protect himself from a swinging door.

The boy's parents did not pursue the case but the school followed its disciplinary process and Mr Richardson attended Bloxwich and Walsall police station on 16 December where he was arrested and detained.

No charges were brought against him.

The court was told: "The claimant doubts whether he would be able to gain promotion due to a record of arrest on his Enhanced Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check.

"He is obliged to provide his employer with a CRB check every three years.

"He is also concerned as to the effect of the record of his arrest on his future employability."

A West Midlands Police spokesman said: "Following the court ruling West Midlands Police will launch an internal investigation into this matter to review the circumstances of the arrest and handling of the case.

"The findings of this investigation will be considered along with any recommendations that arise from it.

"Until this is completed it would be inappropriate to comment on today's ruling or the case in question."

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites