A man who slashed a doctor with a blade that had been taped to his groin, had been properly searched moments before by the police.
The Police Ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire, found that PSNI officers had conducted a thorough search within the powers available to them.
They found one blade but had not discovered the other one which was used in the attack.
Paramedics believed it may have been taped to the man’s groin although he later said he had hidden in a sock that had been examined.
Staff at Craigavon Hospital called police in June 2014 after a man had locked himself in a bedroom while being detained under the Mental Health Act.
He was reported to have had a Stanley knife, a machete, petrol and firelighters.
Police handcuffed the man and escorted him to a living room where they said he was calm and compliant.
The man’s GP who was also at the scene, said he had never known him to have been violent.
The handcuffs were then removed so that the man could get changed while supervised by two relatives.
Police later searched him in an ambulance after one of his relatives warned police that he may have picked up a blade while getting changed.
When interviewed by a Police Ombudsman investigator, the PSNI officer described how he removed the man’s outer clothing and passed it to a colleague who examined the garments.
He had been wearing tracksuit bottoms under his jeans and they were also removed and searched.
The officer said he searched the hems of the man’s T-shirt, and described how the man lifted his T-shirt to show him his back and chest.
His tracksuit bottoms were also checked along with his socks, including the toes and balls of the feet plus a bag of personal belongings.
A blade was found in the side pocket of the man’s jeans and was placed in a sharps box in the ambulance.
A second PSNI officer provided a consistent account of the search, and a paramedic also described it as having been thorough.
An investigation by the Police Ombudsman’s Office has found that police had properly searched a man believed to have a blade, a short time before he slashed a doctor who required stitches for his injuries.
The Police Ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire, found that officers had conducted a thorough search within the powers available to them, and had found one blade but had not discovered another used in the attack.
The paramedic believed that if the man had the blade hidden it may have been taped to the groin area, but the man later said he had hidden it in a sock.
The officer who conducted the search said it had been done to the extent of his powers. He said that there was no necessity in the circumstances for a strip search.
Police records confirmed that the man had no previous record of violent behaviour, and hospital staff confirmed that they had been informed by police that the man had been searched and a blade removed.
CCTV footage of the attack on the doctor was retrieved from the hospital, but was of poor quality and did not show the blade or where the man had hidden it.
Police Ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire, concluded that the search conducted by police had been appropriate in the circumstances, and noted that it would not have been “practicable or necessary to bring the man to a police station in order to strip search him”.
The incident happened at Craigavon Hospital two years ago when the man was being detained under the Mental Health (Northern Ireland) Order 1986.