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Police admit to procedural blunders in wrongful arrest

Hotelier accused of voyeurism shows officers the error of their ways

Police kick beck end elea durlnq their raid on Hc’wflcld Manor; David Sharma delivers a copy of th. Police and Criminal £vid.nc. Act to th. pout.
Police kick back and relax during their raid on Howfield Manor; David Sharma delivers a copy of the Police and Criminal Evidrnce Act to the police

A hotelier has delivered Kent Police a copy of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) after the Force admitted it made procedural blunders when it wrongly arrested him on suspicion of being a voyeur. Officers have admitted they failed to give Mr Sharma a copy of their search warrant when they raided Howfield Manor Hotel in Chartham Hatch in 2013, and accepted that a plain clothes detective nad not shown his warrant card. Both contravene the1984 Police and Criminal Evidence Act. Mr Sharma, who was never found to have done anything wrong, reacted by delivering a copy of PACE addressed to Cantenbury police station on Monday. The 48-year-old of Raymond Avenue, Canterbury, said:

“I can’t be the only person this has happened to. I have delivered Kent Police a copy of the legislation to which they are bound in the vain hope they were ignorant of it, rather than chose to ignore the Law. It is a gross indictment of policing methods in this county when officers do not know the most basic and important rules about searching private premises and arresting citizens. I hope that by leaving a copy of PACE with the force, officers will be clued up in the future and no one in Kent will suffer like this again.”

In September 2013, police raided Howfield Manor armed with a search warrant because they suspected Mr Sharma of filming women using the toilets. He was accused of recording footage and watching it on his computer and phone. Officers also raided the home he shares with his wife and daughters, seizing computer equipment which belonged to them. Four months later, Mr Sharma was completely exonerated. He says he has never fully understood why and how the raid took place. Mr Sharma was inspired to pursue a campaign for answers because of what he regards an unjust arrest and search of his business and home. He added

“I’m old onough and ugly enough to fight back, and fight back for what I believe is right.”

In a letter last week to Mr Sharma, the force said that lessons would be learned and officers would be required to make sure they acted in accordance with its policies and UK law. Asked this week for a comment, police spokesman Glenn Pearson replied:

“Kent Police is unable to comment at this stage duo to legal reasons.”

Herne Bay Gazette, December 18th 2014

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