Former Wigan councillor calls for new arrest probe

Gareth Fairhurst
Gareth Fairhurst

Police officers are under investigation after serious complaints were made by a former Wigan councillor about him being arrested.

Gareth Fairhurst, who previously represented Standish with Langtree ward as an independent, says he has compiled a dossier of allegations about how Greater Manchester Police (GMP) handled his detention.

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Mr Fairhurst was arrested after being accused of stalking the then-chief executive of the local authority Donna Hall, but all charges against him were dropped earlier this year.

However, Mr Fairhurst has now demanded GMP investigates what happened, as he says there was not enough evidence against him to warrant him being taken into custody.

The force has since denied this, saying that the arrest was lawful.

Mr Fairhurst has also said he was kept in a cell for almost 24 hours and was denied medication.

GMP is now undertaking an internal investigation into the complaints by Mr Fairhurst after the matter was initially referred to the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC), although not by the force.

Mr Fairhurst said: “My complaint is serious. I did not meet the threshold for being arrested.

“That threshold is very low, but even by that standard I never came anywhere close to being arrestable.”

But a GMP spokesperson said: “GMP can confirm that an investigation was undertaken in 2018 as a result of complaints received in relation to allegations of stalking and harassment.

"The investigation was conducted professionally and a lawful arrest of a man was made, before a decision was made to take no further action after consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service.

"Any subsequent complaint made against GMP will be carefully considered and investigated.”

It is understood that the IOPC, which handles the most serious complaints against the police, has seen the file on Mr Fairhurst’s case.

However, as part of a complicated technical process during which the IOPC liaises with forces to decide the most appropriate level at which action could be taken, the matter has been referred back to GMP to be looked at again.