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RESTRICTED (when complete)

MG5







URN:

CO /739/11

Page of





CASE SUMMARY

Complainant

Mr Constantin Cercel

4 Dudley Close

Worcester

WR2 5RY
mailto:costincercel@yahoo.com
Background

On the 13th August 2011 Mr Cercel was evicted from his home, 31 Southfield Street, Worcester which he had privately rented for some months. The eviction was carried out by his landlords because of rent arrears, whilst this was taking place the police were called, four officers and a Community Support Officer attended.


The locks on the house were changed and Mr Cercel and two other residents were put out, encouraged to leave by the officers.
Officer under investigation

CSO Poonam Parmar

PC 1353 Slaymaker

PC 1733 Cutler

PS 3479 Simpkins

Counter Clerk Richard Miles

PC 2193 Kennett

PC 3450 Doidge

Inspector Funnell

Inspector Heritage

PS 3091 Jones

Complaints

Complaint 1. You believe that your eviction was unlawful and that the officers failed to act upon this and the harassment by the landlord.


Complaint 2. On the 15th August 2011 you attended Worcester Police station to report the unlawful eviction but the officer you spoke to was rude, he refused to listen and record your complaint and threatened to put you in a cell.

Complaint 3. You again visited the police station on the 16th August where you saw a counter clerk Richard Myers and a PC Kennett. Both of these people were rude to you, they refused to record your complaint about your unlawful eviction and PC Kennett gave false information saying that it was a civil matter.


Complaint 4. On the 5th November 2011 you again went to Worcester Police station where on this occasion you spoke with a PC DOIDGE; again you tried to complain about the harassment and unlawful eviction by your landlord but was told by the officer it was not a police matter and that I should seek legal advice.
Complaint 5. Also in November you tried to make your complaints to Pete Funnell, Janet Heritage and Carl Flint. All three have been rude to you and refused to take your complaint. Janet Heritage has also made a false statement about you saying that you had been rude and aggressive when this was not the case.
Complaint 6. PC Flint also refused to record your complaint about medical negligence when you had been refused medical treatment by a physiotherapist, despite having been advised to have the treatment by two doctors.
Complaint 7. You feel that you have been discriminated against because you are Romanian and you are young and that you have been subject of hate crime.
Investigation

Mr Cercel made his complaint on the 31/01/2012; he qualified his complaints in a number of subsequent emails.


The officers complained of have not been served with regulation notices but have been asked to provide a response to the complaints made.
Officers Responses

CSO Parmar

I was on patrol and got called into the property by the landlord, I went into the house and saw Mr Cercel packing his stuff. The landlord was calm when talking to Mr Cecil who appeared obstructive, arguing about leaving the house.


I advised Mr Cercel to carry on with his packing and stop arguing; at no time did I instruct the gentleman to leave the premises, I advised him to pack as I felt that was the best way to keep him calm. It was a very tense situation and was relieved when police officers arrived.
I was there for approximately 10 minutes, during which time Mr Cecil shouted at me and the landlord, I felt intimidated.
PC Slaymaker
I can only vaguely remember this incident, from what I recall the male in question was not only failing to pay his rent but he was also illegally sub letting the accommodation. I can't recall the exact reason for his departure but I'm sure the landlord furnished us with some documentary evidence in the presence of Mr Cercel as to why he had to leave. In short I don't believe it was an unlawful eviction.
PC Cutler

I did attend 31 Southfield Street in company with other officers, I did not enter the property nor did I speak to either the landlord or the tenant about the issue.


I do remember seeing the tenant, Mr Cercel who was already in the process of moving out of the address; at no time did anyone mention any unlawful eviction or harassment, our attendance was just to prevent any breach of the peace.
PS Simpkins
I remember going to 31 Southfield Street following a call from the landlord stating that they were removing a tenant and believed that there may be a breach of the peace.
Mr Cercel was present; the landlord said that Mr Cercel was being removed from the address due to non payment of rent and sub-letting. I believe the land lord had changed the locks prior to police attending; there was also an issue about Mr Cercel getting his belongings.
Both Mr Cercel and the landlord were informed that this was not a police matter who were there to prevent a breach of the peace.
The landlord arranged a time to meet with Mr Cercel for him to collect items, there was no breach of the police therefore no further need for police involvement. At no time did I help the landlord in any way to remove persons from the address.
I did talk with Cercel once at the front counter relating to issues concerning his property and having it returned. He had made arrangements to meet his landlord but turned up early so obviously the landlord had not arrived. This was causing him some concern and he became quite abusive, although I tried he would not let me talk or help him.
He was advised to contact the landlord and re-arrange a time for the return of his property, if he felt that the landlord had acted out side of any agreement over renting the property then he should gain advice from citizen advice or a solicitor.
It appeared to me that the landlord was not refusing to give property back and was more than willing to meet Cercel at the address, therefore there was no criminal offence.
Richard Miles – Counter Clerk

From recollection Mr Cercel attended front counter on 16/8/11 and initially spoke to me in regards to his eviction. His issue at the time was that property belonging to him was in the property and that the landlord was refusing to give it back and holding it until rent arrears were paid.


I advised Mr Cercel that this was a civil issue, because there was rent arrears the landlord may be entitled to do this. It appeared that the Landlord had made an appointment with Mr Cercel for 1830hrs on that day. He attended front counter an hour before this and therefore was advised to attend the address as agreed with landlord.
PC Kennett just happened to be in the front counter at the time on an unrelated matter and became involved as Mr Cercel refused to listen to the advice given and was becoming quite frustrated and rude. However, he also would not listen to PC Kennett either as she offered the similar advice as me.
PC Kennett or I were certainly not rude to Mr Cercel even when he became difficult. At the front counter I am used to dealing with obstructive and aggressive members of the public and do not have the need to be rude, I gave what I believed to be the correct advice. He would not accept that he should attend the address to collect his property as arranged with the landlord.
PC Kennett
I do have a vague recollection of the gentleman; I may have been passing through front counter as Richard was giving him some advice. I believe the man was being quite persistent and would not accept what Richard was saying to him.
I can not remember the ins-and-outs, I believe he wanted to say that his ex-landlord was stealing his items, this was not the case as he had arrangements to meet her at the premises to pay his outstanding rent for her to return the goods that she had belonging to him. He was given advice to that affect.
PC Doidge
Mr Cercel came to the front counter claiming to be the victim of harassment by his former landlady, following his recent eviction. I was shown several pieces of paper with email correspondence, supposedly from Mr Cercel’s previous landlady.
The general theme of the emails was that Mr Cercel was in rent arrears and his landlady was attempting to retrieve funds. Having read the content I found nothing offensive or threatening about the messages, they were merely to the point. There was nothing in the content that would cause a reasonable person harassment or alarm etc.
I likened it to a final demand for failing to pay a gas bill, its not liked or wanted but that doesn’t make it illegal. Although my point was understood by Mr Cercel it was obvious that he did not like the answers to the questions he was posing. I left him in no doubt that he was not a victim of harassment and no police action would be taken on this occasion.
Sgt Carl Jones

Sergeant Carl Jones confirmed that he had met with Mr Cercel on more than one occasion. He first spoke with him in early October 2012 when Mr Cercel reported what he believed was a threatening letter from a solicitor. The letter appeared to be from a solicitor representing his landlords, there were rent arrears and Mr Cercel was being asked to vacate the premises.


Carl advised that this was not a police matter, there were no criminal offences and he should seek legal advice or face the risk of eviction. Mr Cercel was not happy with the advice and expressed the belief that he was being harassed because of his ethnicity. Carl reviewed the correspondence which did not contain anything of a racist or threatening nature.
He met Mr Cercel again in December 2012 having received a referral from Inspector Furnell. On speaking with Mr Cercel he discovered that he had been evicted and the locks changed at the property he had rented. Mr Cercel considered this had been unlawful and had happened to him because he was Romanian and therefore it was a hate crime.
Having discussed the matter at some length, Carl ascertained that there had been rent arrears and a suggestion that Mr Cercel had sub-let the property without the knowledge or consent of the landlord; he was shown a notice of repossession from a solicitor. From what he was told, there was no indication in what had been said or done that the situation was motivated by prejudice or hate. Again Mr Cercel was not happy with the advice he was given. (Carl was aware that Mr Cercel was recording their conversation.)
Mr Cercel had also complained that he had been refused physiotherapy treatment which again he believed was because of his ethnicity. Sgt Jones was shown a copy of a letter from the physiotherapist which stated that the type of injury that Mr Cercel was presenting was not something that individual could treat; the physiotherapist had suggested a series of exercises and referred Mr Cercel back to his GP. Mr Cercel believed that he was being treated unfairly and was being refused treatment on the basis of his ethnicity.
Sgt Jones viewed documentation produced by Mr Cercel which indicated that the physiotherapist’s actions were based on his professional opinion; there was nothing to indicate any kind of racism. He advised Mr Cercel accordingly.
Sgt Jones has also had contact from Worcester Technical College, who had reported certain issues with Mr Cercel which had resulted in him being excluded from his course and subsequently the college. No police involvement was necessary.
In general Sgt Jones had found Mr Cercel quite difficult to deal with, he was demanding of police action but had unrealistic expectations of the police and their powers.

Conclusion

Complaint 1 – It would appear that Mr Cercel was evicted because of his non–payment of rent, a civil argument between Mr Cercel and his landlord. There is no evidence to suggest that a ‘criminal’ offence has taken place. No misconduct has been found on the part of any officer. This complaint is not upheld.


Complaint 2 – Sgt Simpkins describes his meeting with Mr Cercel at Worcester police station, he provided an explanation of police powers in such circumstances and gave advice for Mr Cercel to seek his own legal advice. There has been no misconduct on the part of the officer, this complaint is not upheld.
Complaint 3 – Mr Miles and PC Kennett describe their meeting with Mr Cercel at Worcester Police station front counter, he was provided with appropriate advice. There is no evidence that either Mr Miles or PC Kennett has breached the standards of professional behaviour. This complaint is not upheld.
Complaint 4 - PC Doidge also describes his meeting with Mr Cercel, the advice provided was appropriate. There is no evidence of misconduct, the complaint is not upheld.
Complaint 5 - The officers to whom the complainant refers are believed to be Inspector Funnell, Inspector Heritage and Sergeant Carl Jones (not Flint).
Inspector Funnell wrote to Mr Cercel by email on 18/11/11 having had matters referred to him by staff at the ‘Worcestershire hub’. In particular the Inspector reviewed police action as to Mr Cercel’s reported ‘Hate Crimes’; the eviction from his home, an alleged threatening solicitor’s letter and the refusal of physiotherapy treatment.
Inspector Funnell determined that there was no apparent ‘Hate crime’ and provided Mr Cercel with appropriate advice.
Inspector Janet Heritage wrote to Mr Cercel by email on 25/11/11 where she used the word, ‘I was disappointed to read that you were less than polite to staff at the police station, and in fact it is alleged that you were quite rude and aggressive.’
Inspector Heritage’s description was based on communication from other members of staff who reported on their interaction with Mr Cercel and their perception of his behaviour.
Sgt Carl Jones has commented on his meetings with Mr Cercel.
There is no evidence to show that any of the officers have breached the standards of professional behaviour. The complaint is not upheld.
Complaint 6 – It has been determined that the PC Flint referred to by Mr Cercel is actually Sgt Jones. The matter of medical provision is not within the remit of the police or the investigating officer.
No officer misconduct can be attributed to any officer, the complaint is not upheld.
Complaint 7 – Recording an incident as a crime - The Home Office provide guidelines for the recording of crime. All reports of incidents, whether from victims, witnesses or third parties and whether crime related or not, will result in the registration of an incident report by the police.
Following the initial registration, an incident will be recorded as a crime (notifiable offence) for offences against an identified victim if, on the balance of probability the circumstances as reported amount to a crime defined by law; the police will determine this,

based on their knowledge of the law and counting rules.
Hate crime is defined as any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on a personal characteristic. The incidents to which Mr Cercel refers have been determined as not criminal in nature.
There has been no evidence found that Mr Cercel has been discriminated because of his race or any other factor, indeed it would appear that numerous officers have given Mr Cercel much of their time or assistance but unfortunately have not been able to provide the outcome or answer desired.
There is no evidence to show that Mr Cercel has been the subject of hate crime or that officers have acted or performed inappropriately. This complaint is not upheld.

Investigator

Peter Moore





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