Brighton student accuses police of mistreatment after sexual assault

Posted On 24 Jan 2011 at 1:41 pm

A student from Brighton has made a formal complaint about the way that the police dealt with her after she was sexually assaulted.

She asked for help after a man sexually assaulted her during the student tuition fees protest last month.

But she accused officers of not taking the incident seriously.

The student, who cannot be named, was one of hundreds of students contained in a “kettle” at the time.

She told the Sussex University student newspaper, The Badger, that she fell to the floor during a police charge.

While on the floor she was assaulted by a man with shoulder-length curly hair and brown eyes.

She and her friends asked officers for help but she was not allowed to leave or receive help for 30 to 40 minutes.

When she was interviewed, she said that officers treated her as a criminal rather than a victim and even refused to let her have drinking water.

They kept her tights as evidence but gave her no suitable replacement.

She left the Metropolitan Police station nearly five hours later to make her own way home, bare legged on a cold December night.

The assault took place on Thursday 9 December in London and, after her formal complaint, was followed up by the Met in a phone call to the student on Saturday 15 January.

The victim said that her treatment during the phone call was similar to the way that she was treated at the police station on the day of the incident.

The Badger quotes the student as saying that there was “zero chance that my case will be dealt with”.

She added: “The state failed me on that day and had no regard for my safety.”

A spokesman for the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said that it had received the student’s complaint.

The spokesman said that the IPCC written to the victim and, with her consent, had passed on her complaint to the Met to deal with.

She said that the Met’s directorate of professional standards would have contacted her to resolve the matter and that if she was still unhappy she could appeal to the IPCC.

The University of Sussex Students’ Union told The Badger: “The police’s behaviour in this incident is despicable.

“Reports of beating, charging and ‘kettling’ are enough without the accompanying negligence that this student has suffered.

“The police’s record in dealing with sexual assault in this country is shameful.”

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