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Inquiry into Sussex Police restraint of disabled child
The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating Sussex Police's treatment of a disabled 11-year-old girl who officers physically restrained five times in a month.
The watchdog says handcuffs and leg restraints may have been used on the child during four arrests, and she was twice held in police cells overnight, between February and March last year.
The girl suffers from Smith-Magenis Syndrome, which the IPCC described as "a genetic condition with symptoms similar to autism".
Her mother complained in July last year. Sussex Police referred the case to the IPCC in December.
IPCC Commissioner Mike Franklin said: "The IPCC investigation is examining the nature and circumstances of the officers' interaction with the girl on five separate occasions in February and March 2012 to determine whether the degree of force and method of restraint used by officers was appropriate and in accordance with the law, the officers' training and force policy and procedure.
"The investigation is also looking at the appropriateness of the decision to place the girl in police cells on four occasions and to refer her to the Crown Prosecution Service for charging on one occasion.
"These are very serious complaints about the treatment of an 11-year-old girl suffering from Smith-Megenis Syndrome and I will ensure that they are investigated thoroughly.”
A spokeswoman for Sussex Police said no officers have been suspended while the inquiry takes place.
She said: "We take our responsiblity for any use of force very seriously particularly when it involves young people or those who are disabled.
"Given the unusual circumstances of the case and that is it being independently investigated we cannot go into full detail until the conclusion of the investigation. We welcome the IPCC's scrutiny and we fully support its investigation."
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