Jun 212013

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.

The 7th June siege, called a ‘blunder’ in mainstream media, was a massive police operation launched on the say-so of an anonymous tipster.
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.

He was told ‘specialists’ wanted to question him about a suspicious item found at his home (which Copland demonstrated to be no more than a broken remote controlled toy ) and was questioned repeatedly about a fluffy dusting brush – the police insinuated during questioning that these could be seen as ‘weapons;’

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.”

Copland openly tells Aberdeen Voice he has had problems in the past and is known to the police.  He has been treated for mental health issues in the past, which may be related to his Crohn’s disease, a debilitating digestive condition.
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.

If Copland had a past record with the police, it is nothing compared to the record of the person police named to Copland as the alleged hoax caller, who has serious charges and convictions against his name.

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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  23 Responses to “Siege A Hoax, But The Damage All Too Real”

  1. Wow, what an amazing story, it seems yet again that the police have bungled their way through this situation ,I hope that they are made to explain their ineptitude and that Dod is suitably compensated for his terrible treatment, this is no way to treat a “victim of circumstance “, especially someone who suffers a medical condition such as Dod.

    • There was no blunder. The police are nought but vandals, and will destroy anything within reach. Whether there is any reason to believe they have a legal, exigent or no right to do so. A long prison term as well as restitution is appropriate by the political unit, and the vandals themselves.

  2. I had no idea that this had happened to Dod, that’s disgusting! Sadly though I am not surprised about the appalling way in which he was treated. My partner is still fighting Aberdeen police after a similar incident over 5 years ago where they inapropriately used CS gas on him amongst other things.
    Dod I wish you well and will watch this space with interest.

  3. Firstly thanks to the Aberdeen Voice for exposing this scandalous story. This is an astonishing abuse of power and totally unacceptable, I intend to write to Police Scotland expressing my disquiet and for them to explain their outrageous treatment of an innocent man, I will also contact my MSP regarding this matter.

  4. flabbergasted,upon reading this first thing ,had to re-read ,then check calendar to see not april 1rst.unfortunately not the case and only too real.incomprehendible set of circumstances leading to an innocent party bein de-humanised ,forfeited rights and medical treatment,not forgetting anguish of invasiveness of ones home.it would appear that once a known character ,stooping to a new low is not beyond (human) ,used loosely,capabilities.i hope to see favourable outcome at some point,hope youre rising above all this Dod,and keeping in good health.my feather duster now taking backseat incase of reprisals,just be careful when using your “Armoury” especially hoover which in certain light might be mis-construed as weapon of mass destruction,when clearing up damage done.thoughts are with you.good luck.x

  5. Shocking story. Dod, I hope you get compensation + some resolution to this appalling incident.

  6. If he hadn’t commited a offence in the first place they wouldn’t of needed to do a search of his home and whats to say he didn’t damage his things to get sympathy??? He wasted police and tax payers money by phoning say’n someone was being held hostage!!! karma springs to mind!!!!

    • Dear Laura – oh dear; I guess my writing has somehow caused you to reach the wrong conclusion. The man who resides in this flat did not place the hoax call. He was not there during the siege; he was completely innocent of anything warranting a siege, making any hoax calls or anything but having toys and a fuzzy orange brush. I hope you will take back your implication that he would have trashed his flat deliberately; if you don’t know, when police search premises, they can be extremely destructive. Please let me know what part of the story has you confused. I will find another way to explain it all if this comment has not helped you. Thank you, Suzanne

    • Gweed Sakes Laura quine.A despair!!!! Foo in hell’s name cwid ye git the hoaxer mixed up wi Mr Copland .

  7. Shocked but no longer surprised at the police. After the Menie debacle you would think one of the high heidyuns at Lodgewalk would have learned a valuable lesson but their complete ineptitude and abandon of care shows them to be the halfwits we already knew them to be.
    As for you Laura, can you not read, digest and think more carefully before posting such utter tripe?

  8. I hope George recovers soon after this very unpleasant experience. It reminded me of the intimidation I have received from council staff, while living in a similar council house.

  9. No smoke without fire, the police don’t just do that and wreck his things, load of rubbish.

    • Anyone want to send Mr Smith some proof to the contrary? There is no shortage of it for the UK

    • The police would certainly do that during a search for weapons or drugs, I would certainly be wondering what the hoaxer said during his interview for them to take follow up action.

  10. I dread to think what the consequences would have been if Dod had actually been inside his home. I hope he’s OK after this disgraceful nightmare.

  11. As a journalist I am astonished this has been published without waiting for the police comment.

    The 29 year old was detained, not arrested, on suspicion of wasting police time. He was later released without charge pending further inquiries.

    This article is far from legally sound, extremely concerning given it’s spreading quickly across social media.

    • The police were approached prior to publication twice. They have failed thusfar to reply to me and to at least one other journalist at a major broadcaster. In the public interest the story was published; as the article states, we will print a police reply when received.

      Thank you for your concern as to the use of the word ‘arrested’ instead of the word ‘detained’; please feel free to share this concern with the Evening Express, which wrote:- “However, no one was inside and a 29-year-old man was later arrested in connection with wasting police time.” in its article which can be found here: http://www.eveningexpress.co.uk/Article.aspx/3271733 Having said that, the AV editorial team have changed my word ‘arrested’ for the word ‘detained’.

      The purpose of this article is to make the public aware of the story Mr Copland shared with AV; again, the police are free to respond, and I hope to hear from them on this matter soon.

      As it stands, the treatment he told me about – following an event days earlier at his home which was triggered by an acknowledged hoax call – is extremely worrying and unacceptable. I hope you can agree that is what is at issue.

  12. Here is the story in the Scottish Sun – the photo of the flat is shocking. As someone waiting for the police to get back to them, I was surprised to see the police comment in the Sun piece – they say they have corroborated reports of a man with a firearm, and that is what sparked their search.

    I therefore suggest anyone who owns an air rifle (which I don’t approve of by the way) to expect their flat to be trashed as well. But as the air rifle in question was, I am told, not on display or in use, but in a locked space, I am baffled by the corroborated report. We need to find out what time this report of a firearm was made and whether there is a connection between the people who reported it and the hoax caller. If Copland was not at his flat at the time the report was made – he wasn’t there at the siege and he wasn’t there when arrested – there are some large questions to be answered http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/news/4979571/Huckle-duster-gaffe-as-cops-grill-man-over-fluffy-cleaning-aid.html

  13. Look at it from the police point of view a point of view where public safety is paramount. Someone states that a person has a gun and is willing to use it (I will point out some air rifles and air pistols can look very real to someone who doesn’t know) Someone known to the police who has a history of mental health problems by his own admission, they go to the property and find a gun but no owner, two other’s confirm the original accuser’s story and the police then go looking for and search any other property where he may have stashed a weapon. Surely this is standard procedure you see it every day on the news when someone is arrested on suspicion of something the police will search friends and family’s property. It is also the detainee’s prerogative to ask for a lawyer to be present during questioning not the police to appoint one.
    Let’s now look at recent gun crime history in the UK Dunblane there are still on-going accusations and calls for a public enquiry into the actions of authorities in not identifying Thomas Hamilton as a threat despite countless complaints about him.
    I am in no way comparing Dod or this case to the actions of Thomas Hamilton, only trying to show the difficult decisions that have to be made by police and authorities with the information they have at the time. Will they get it right every time no but they are only human, can any of you say that every decision you have made was right especially when your under pressure and have 3 people telling you the same thing ?
    Personally I would rather see a hundred innocent citizens searched detained and questioned if it stops 1 more massacre.

    • Hello Jim, when the police get it wrong, firstly I expect that they will make restitution for broken possessions, apologise, and undo damage done. Secondly, this newly-released statement that they had corroborated evidence of someone with a gun makes very little sense at present. When did this exactly happen? Surely not at the time they arrested Copland at his girlfriend’s house in the wee hours. If they had reports of a gunman, I’d like to know where the gunman was, where the gunman was, and how much time elapsed between reports of the gunman and the police going to the scene. This story is at present not adding up, except to be that anyone with an air rifle (which I do not like at all but which is legal) or a remote control toy is fair game as a suspect and their rights and property do not matter. I expect the decisions the police take to be made to the letter of the law. If a suspect says he needs medication for that matter, and a doctor is promised as Copland says, what went wrong? Why did they release the name of the hoax caller to Copland – what due procedure is this? Sorry, I am not seeing much about the siege or Copland’s arrest that I would call standard at all.

      Expect a follow up story shortly.

      • Suzanne you have one side of this story why are there 3 people with the same story the hoaxers name never came from the police but from Dod himself Fact I hope you get the truth

      • Dear Jim, I do hope the police will give me the information I requested soon; it will be published. With regard to your comments, we need to make sure we are not muddling two different events. 1. a hoax caller – acknowledged to be a hoax – said a gunman was inside a flat which was empty. The police arrested a 29 year old man for wasting police time in this regard. 2. As to the ‘corroborated’ report of a ‘male with a firearm’ this must be a different event – otherwise clearly the police would have had to arrest the corroborators for being part of the acknowledged hoax. 3. When arrested, it was early morning, and days after the hoax – Copland was not found with any gun. Therefore it certainly seems either the 2 incidents were days apart or if not, that the police took their time about reports of someone running around with a firearm, or they somehow decided the gunman had to be Copland, and then arrested him later on – did they leave a gunman on the streets? Until we know what time the ‘male with firearm’ report and corroboration came in, and where the gunman allegedly was, these two episodes – the hoax and Copland’s arrest do not in my opinion inspire faith in the police or assure me of their openness and transparency after the arrest of someone who is not guilty of a crime.

        You seem certain ‘the hoaxer’s name never came from the police but from Dod himself Fact’ – can you please supply me with evidence of this claim you make, many thanks.

  14. Surely if weapons were being looked for sniffer dogs would be more effective and leave less mess – the photos in a national paper yesterday looked more like a herd of rhinos had torn through the place. Good luck Dod. Keep your chin up.