Suzanne Kelly met with George Copland, the resident of an Aberdeen house which was the scene of an armed police siege – when no one was in it – who was arrested and held for approximately 13 hours.
A 29 year-old-man, was subsequently detained for questioning on suspicion of wasting police time the same day of the siege.
Why then, was George Copland arrested and his property searched, on account of a hoax, days later?
Copland’s arrest and subsequent treatment unfolded like this:
Copland was arrested at his girlfriend’s home in the early hours of Sunday 9th June. Police apparently shouted ‘Jo – we need to see you and make sure you are all right’ before breaking in.
It must be borne in mind that at this point in time, it was known to the police and the public that the siege was a hoax. His own home was trashed by police looking for weaponry; his possessions broken and scattered.
Upon his arrest, Copland informed police he needed medication, and despite being told a doctor was coming, no one ever saw him.
Copland feels police were trying to get him to say these items may have resembled guns/weapons.
There is apparently an acknowledgement that he was not in his home at the time of the siege.
No lawyer was present at this questioning. Police, with no warrant, wished to search his girlfriend’s flat. He was held for approximately 13 hours.
There is no talk of compensation for the destruction; there is no apology. There is no proper explanation as to how someone could be arrested for a hoax perpetrated on their home when they were not in it.
In an extraordinary move, police tell Copland the name of the person arrested for placing the hoax call. This information still has not been released to the media.
Copland tells Aberdeen Voice:
“I will be talking to a lawyer about this incident. I want an acknowledgement this arrest and my treatment were totally wrong and unacceptable. I want my flat put right, and I want compensation for the destruction of my property – but also for the damage to my reputation. People are giving me a wide berth after the siege and my arrest.”
His mental state improved after surgery for his medical condition.
That the police knew of his issues but did not either allow him his medication or send for a doctor as promised is another unacceptable dimension of this case.
Aberdeen Voice have sent police a contact form from the Police Scotland website, and have sent them questions concerning this story for comment. Their response will be published once received.
This may be a UK first – arresting the owner of a property where a hoax was perpetrated which caused the police to launch a massive armed response. An innocent man was subjected to a police ordeal, loss of reputation, property damage, medical neglect, potential violation of rights – all for an incident that never was.
No one is suggesting that the police should not respond to genuine threats – but did the police behave correctly at the 7th June siege or when arresting George Copland? It hardly seems so.
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