£450,000 cost for holding suspects

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Lancashire police paid out more than £450,000 in five years in compensation and costs following claims of false imprisonment made against the force.

It has had to pay out £213,310 in compensation and £240,812.33 in costs for 130 successful claims over that period of time.

In 2008 there were 24 proven cases with compensation totalling £45,395 and costs £83,144.48.

In 2009 there were 14 proven cases - compensation totalled £20,500 and £18,767.42 was paid in costs.

In 2010 it paid out on 30 proven cases - £48,675 compensation and £42,203.21 costs.

In 2011 there were 28 proven cases - with compensation totalling £51,400 and costs £23,716.94.

And in 2012 there were 34 successful claims, totalling £47,400 in compensation and £72,980.28 in costs.

False imprisonment covers scenarios such as unlawful or mistaken arrest but can also encompass any other allegations relating to an individuals arrest on detention in police custody, the force said.

The information was released by the force following a Freedom of Information request.

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said examples of false imprisonment include people wrongly still on Police National Computer.

Or if the court has changed or varied someone’s bail conditions and not told them.

Chief Insp Steve Sansbury from the Force’s Criminal Justice Department said: “Every year around 50,000 people are arrested in Lancashire and go through custody therefore these claims represent a very small proportion of people.

“Unfortunately there are occasions, for a variety of reasons, that people may be unlawfully detained.

“There are checks and balances in place to ensure that this doesn’t happen but whilst we seek to minimise this risk to the greatest extent possible, by the nature of complex policing and the speed at which officers make a decision to arrest, inevitably these decision can at times be proved wrong.

“Often we take decisions and act on the best information possible, however, occasionally people provide us with malicious information which can result in a wrongful arrest and its only right that in these instances people are compensated. Cases of mistaken identity can also occur or in rare cases there can be a breakdown in communication between other agencies. It is important to stress that any mistakes are quickly rectified.”