Mr Matthew McConville, Head of Irvings Law’s specialist Actions Against the Police Department, has successfully represented Mr Wheeler from Birmingham in a claim for compensation against West Midlands Police.
Mr Wheeler suffered a mental health breakdown and had called West Midlands Police for help. During the call, Mr Wheeler explained that he was concerned that he may harm himself but nonetheless, Police Officers attended quite quickly. Mr Wheeler’s partner informed the attending Police Officers that she was also concerned for Mr Wheeler’s mental wellbeing and stated that he had now driven off in his car. The attending Police Officers then went to locate Mr Wheeler and his car which they found was stationary with him inside. When the attending Police Officers approached Mr Wheeler, he accidently drove his car forward which hit the Police car that had parked right in front of him. In a complete state of disarray and panic, Mr Wheeler got out of his car and started to run before he reconsidered and stopped; surrendering himself.
Despite the known concerns to Mr Wheeler’s mental state and subsequent accident caused, the attending Police Officers proceeded to arrest Mr Wheeler for dangerous driving and criminal damage and he was then taken to the Police Station. Given the Mr Wheeler’s mental health illness, he takes multiple tablets to help manage his symptoms and despite of Mr Wheeler making Custody Staff aware of this and him asking for his prescribed medication, he was not provided with the same until 27 hours later when he was in withdrawal. Later, Mr Wheeler was charged and convicted with dangerous driving but no further action was taken against him in relation to the criminal damage offence. Upon Mr Wheeler’s release, his mobile phone was returned to him which, to his utter shock, had multiple pictures taken by the Police Officers whom arrested him whilst he was detained and going through what he was. Rightfully, Mr Wheeler complained to West Midlands Police’s Professional Standards Department where he was then subsequently offered an apology for what had gone on in custody.
During the Professional Standards investigation, Mr Wheeler approached specialist Actions Against the Police Solicitors, Irvings Law, for assistance. Mr McConville immediately acknowledged that what happened to Mr Wheeler was completely wrong and without hesitation, offered to act for him by way of “no win, no fee”. After dealing with his ongoing complaint and then obtaining all documentation, information and footage from West Midlands Police, Mr McConville alleged that Mr Wheeler’s treatment was an infringement of his human rights. Quite bizarrely and despite the finding of their own Professional Standards Department, West Midlands Police’s legal department denied liability which forced Mr Wheeler to instruct Mr McConville issue and serve expensive Court proceedings.
After serving his claim, West Midlands Police agreed to pay Mr Wheeler £3,000.00 plus the payment of his legal costs. Whilst the case should never have taken this long to reach a conclusion, we and Mr Wheeler are very pleased that West Midlands Police finally saw sense.