A father who smacked his son’s leg and was arrested by police has demanded an apology after he was locked in a cell overnight. Mark Frearson told off his son Harry after the seven-year-old walked off while they were out shopping.
Three hours later four police officers and a specialist child support officer arrived at his house, took Harry away in a police car, arrested Mr Frearson on suspicion of assault and locked him in a cell. After about an hour he said officers told him they could not carry out an interview as the witness ‘was not in a condition to give a statement’.
Mr Frearson, a director at a parcel company, had to spend the night in the cell and was released the next day at 10.00am after the witness was interviewed and withdrew their accusation. The 47-year-old has made a formal complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Commission about the ordeal.
He said the police reaction was ‘massively over-the-top’ and the experience was traumatic for his son. Mr Frearson, from Plymouth, Devon, said: ‘I find it shocking how easy it is to have someone arrested. To think that all this happened on the back of one allegation’.
He said it was dark and he told Harry to stay with him. When he realised he had left the shop there was a ten-minute search and he was found outside in a nearby park. He said he smacked Harry once on the back of his leg and the two returned home.
Devon and Cornwall police will not comment on the incident, as it is now subject to formal complaint procedures.