GMP officers jailed after assault

Article published: Thursday, April 8th 2010

Two police officers of Greater Manchester have been jailed for 18 months for inflicting “deliberate cruelty” on a 19-year-old woman while in custody. The judge told the court that her treatment was “little short of torture”.

Well...not this time at least!

Amy Keigher was arrested in Picadilly Gardens on suspicion of assault. She was later interrogated by PC Jason Hanvey, who was seen in CCTV footage holding Ms Keigher’s face against a desk, screaming at her and threatening to “rip her skull off”.

The other man sentenced was Andrew Kennedy, a senior desk officer, stood by with “completely indifference”, failing in his duty to intervene, according to Judge Anthony Gee QC. The event only came to light after Ms Keigher complained, not from any officers present at the police station.

The judge also said Hanvey, who he described as a “bullying thug”, grabbed her hair, put her hands in handcuffs and pulled them over her head in a “cruel position” for over a minute. He then refused to allow Ms Keigher to leave the station until she said “pretty please”.

Hanvey, who has now resigned from GMP, has a previous conviction for a similar incident when he assaulted a man in custody back in 1999. The fact that he had not been sacked before this raises further questions of how effectively the force disciplines its officers and deals with abuse of power.

This conviction will act as a serious deterrent to police violence under the guise of ‘lawful restraint’. Those with firsthand experience of Manchester’s finest won’t be holding their breath.

One local activist, who asked not to be named, told MULE: “It’s hardly a surprising story. This sort of thing happens a lot, it’s not just that there’s a bad apple or two. The complaints procedure is so useless though – since it’s usually done by the police themselves – that it very rarely gets into the news, let alone to any kind of conviction or punishment.

“We saw what happened in court last week with that sergeant from the G20 protests – the one who was all over YouTube, smacking that woman and hitting her round the legs with his riot stick. He got off saying he thought she was going to attack him with a weapon in her hand, when all she was holding was a camera and a carton of orange juice!”

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