On April 12 2018, Councillor Afzal Shah attended his local police station, Trinity Road, to report some incidents on behalf of two victims following events the previous evening.
Upon entering the station, he spoke to a member of staff at the front desk. Councillor Shah was disappointed by the service he received at reception, and requested to speak to an officer, after which Councillor Shah was taken to a side room. At the same time, based on false allegations, Councillor Shah was wrongly arrested.
He was then led to a police car, where he remained seated, for several minutes. Councillor Shah was co-operative throughout and was not cuffed or restrained in any way.
Councillor Shah was de-arrested and officers escorted him back into the police station. At no time was Councillor Shah taken into a custody setting.
It is accepted that far more could have been done at the time to explain to Councillor Shah why he was arrested and subsequently de-arrested.
After a thorough and comprehensive review of this incident, including the officers’ Body Worn Video footage, we accept that upon reflection there could have been a far better way of dealing with the situation.
We would also like to take this opportunity to state that at no point was Councillor Shah visually identified as the alleged perpetrator of an alleged incident and wish to clarify that our initial statement was incorrect, for which we have apologised.
Chief Officers have been meeting with Councillor Shah along with SARI (Stand Against Racism & Inequality) who have been supporting him with this matter. He appreciates the seriousness in which we have taken his concerns.
Following these discussions, we’ve undertaken a learning exercise directly with the frontline officers and staff involved. Senior officers have also met with key community members to discuss policing in Bristol.
This compliments part of a broader programme of work we have been carrying out to raise awareness of diversity and cultural differences.
Councillor Shah has worked to support our communities for a long time and together we’re committed to maintaining and developing these positive working relationships.