SUSSEX Police have apologised to a father over an inaccurate report that was used in justifying a visit from social services over the welfare of his three-year-old daughter.

Police mistakenly told social services a neighbour had complained about Kenneth Burgoyne screaming at his child, rather than with his child.

The PCSO who made the report did not speak English as her first language, a lawyer for the police later told the father, offering this as a reason for “any slight indifference [sic] in the wording”.

Mr Burgoyne gained a legal studies certificate from the Open University to help his more than three-year fight with police over that mistake and other matters.

The 58-year-old, of St Leonard’s Road, Hove, said: “At that time she [my daughter] was three years old. They are up at six o’clock in the morning wanting to go out, wanting to make lots of noise, and that’s family life.

“When the police made the report to social services they changed the wording.

“All of a sudden it has gone from a dad outside making noise with his child to a dad screaming and shouting at his child.”

A social worker from Brighton and Hove City Council visited Mr Burgoyne after getting the report in February 2011.

Recording her reasons for the visit, she cited a police report stating that a neighbour had said she believed Mr Burgoyne and her [sic] partner used cannabis and heard Burgoyne “shouting and screaming at his daughter in the early hours of the morning”.

Nearly four years later, police have now apologised for the wording and any “inconvenience which it may have caused”. A force spokesman told The Argus it was “unable to say whether the wording or indeed, the shouting issue itself, are likely to have been the cause of the visit from social services.”

He added: “We are satisfied that our procedures for dealing with MOGP1s [the type of report made to social services] are robust and were followed on this occasion.

“We do not believe that there is any significant issue raised in respect of officers for whom English is not their first language.”

The written apology followed years of legal wrangling after Mr Burgoyne filed a claim in county court against police for that and other matters including a harassment (PIN) notice.

Police have now settled that claim, saying the main reason for doing so was the harassment notice, which it accepted was “not correctly dealt with at the end of its duration.”