Police launch official review after falsely arresting The Thirst

Staffordshire force defends action and says officers acted 'in good faith'

Andy Willsher
Pic: Andy Willsher
Staffordshire Police have announced that they are to launch an investigation after claims they falsely arrested London band The Thirst and allegedly held them for 16 hours earlier this month.

The band were stopped after playing a gig at The Oak pub in Burntwood, Stafford on November 21, after CCTV operators informed police that they looked suspicious.

Frontman Mensah Cofie-Agyeman later explained to NME.COM that the band had been held at gunpoint before being taken to a station, where they were kept in overnight, despite not committing any crime.

He added that he thought the police action "just comes down to racism".

In a statement released by Staffordshire Police yesterday (November 30), a spokesperson justified the action taken by the force: "We received a call made in good faith by council CCTV operators who said they had seen two vehicles and people acting suspiciously in a car park in High Street, Chasetown. It was in the belief - which we now know to be mistaken - that a firearm had been seen that we sent armed officers to the scene."

The spokesperson added that an apology has been made to The Thirst and stated that in the police's view, the band were treated fairly during the incident.

"We have made an unreserved apology to the men for their arrest and detention," they explained. "Their fingerprints and DNA, taken following their arrest, will be destroyed. We are obviously aware of - and concerned by - reported allegations about how the men were treated during the incident and their subsequent time in custody.

"Although we have yet to receive a formal and direct complaint from the men themselves, we have instigated our own review of these dynamic events. At this initial stage, we believe that the men were treated equally following their detention."

The Thirst have previously toured with The Rolling Stones and Babyshambles, and at one point were set to appear on Pete Doherty's solo album.

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