Essex Police statement regarding the detention of Lamarr Chambers
On Wednesday January 17 officers from Essex Police’s West Operation Raptor team arrested a 24-year-old man in Parsonage Leys Harlow.
The man, 24-year-old Lamarr Chambers of Villa Road, Brixton, London was subsequently charged and appeared in court on Thursday January 18.
At that hearing, and in seven subsequent hearings, the court authorised the further detention of Mr Chambers (under section 152 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988) to enable him to pass drugs he was suspected to have inside him.
Mr Chambers was detained in police custody for 47 days. During this time he was routinely supplied with food and water, received medical visits every day and comprehensive reports of his state of health were provided to the court at each hearing. His health, wellbeing and dignity were paramount at all times. Despite this, nothing was passed by Mr Chambers, who also routinely declined medical treatment and the opportunity to visit hospital.
On Monday March 5th, the decision was taken by Deputy Chief Constable BJ Harrington, following medical and legal advice, to release Mr Chambers from custody. The Crown Prosecution Service discontinued the charges against Mr Chambers in relation to possession with intent to supply a Class A drug and driving matters.
Mr Chambers was subsequently rearrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of a Class A drug and he was released on bail. Upon his release from our custody, Mr Chambers was taken by police car, in company with a medical professional, to hospital for treatment. We understand that since his release Mr Chambers has been treated in hospital.”
Deputy Chief Constable BJ Harrington said: "Police forces have a legal and ethical responsibility for the welfare of anyone brought in to police custody. Although an investigation concerning the supply of Class A drugs is routine for our officers, there have in this case been some highly unusual circumstances which have attracted national attention.
“On the basis of all the medical evidence in this case it is most appropriate, both in the interests of Mr Chambers and of justice, to ensure he receives the hospital treatment he needs.
“Where detainees are suspected of ingesting or concealing drugs inside their body, we must balance overseeing their welfare and ensuring that all evidence is captured to ensure the best possible chance of prosecution.
“In some cases this will involve seeking the continued detention of a suspect, as authorised by the courts, to ensure that drugs are passed, retained and tested. That evidence will then form the basis of subsequent charging decisions and court proceedings.
“Essex Police’s Operation Raptor teams spend every day proactively hunting those involved in the supply and sale of drugs on our streets. It is a crime that we are not prepared to tolerate in this county and we will go to every length to capture and prosecute those responsible.
“We will also not shy away from talking about the unpleasant truths that go hand in hand with the drug dealing lifestyle, from the violence often perpetrated by those involved to the expectation on dealers to ‘plug’ drugs to avoid capture."