Police review after arrest of Bristol councillor Afzal Shah

Police review after arrest of Bristol councillor Afzal Shah

Avon and Somerset Police are to hold a review after a Bristol councillor was mistakenly arrested when he was trying to report a crime at his local police station.

The arrest came two weeks ago after Labour Councillor Afzal Shah went to Trinity Road Police station to report a crime but was taken in because he said the police were searching for a suspect that “looked like him”.

Cllr Shah, who also sits on the Police and Crime panel at Bristol City Council, has this week suggested there is “institutional bias” within the force, claiming that this would not have happened to his white counterparts from across the county.

Avon and Somerset Police have apologised for the mistake and said they are conducting a review.

ACC Steve Cullen said: “We very much appreciate Cllr Afzal Shah’s support for community policing and value his work to integrate local officers with the community, both as a councillor and as a member of the Police and Crime Panel. As a matter of course, we initiated a review of officers’ actions as soon as Cllr Shah raised concerns about his arrest.

“This review is ongoing to ensure he receives a full explanation addressing all of his concerns.

“Our initial findings have established that based on the information they had at the time, the officers felt they had reasonable grounds to suspect an offence had been committed and an arrest was necessary.

“While under caution, Cllr Shah offered an explanation about his whereabouts at the time of the alleged offence. This account led officers to make further enquiries and he was de-arrested. We empathise with the impact that this incident has had on Cllr Shah and have apologised for the distress and embarrassment this incident has clearly caused him.

“Senior officers are working with Cllr Shah to learn from this incident and to mutually agree a way forward”.

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