Drink drive Waveney councillor for Worlingham loses police complaints bid

DISGRACED councillor Andrew Draper suffered another setback this week when his official complaint to Suffolk police about the manner of his arrest for drink-driving was rejected by an internal investigation.

The Independent Waveney district councillor for Worlingham was arrested on August 12 in Beccles Road, Carlton Colville and later admitted charges of drink-driving and assaulting a police officer.

During the court hearing, Lowestoft magistrates heard that, on the way to the police station, Mr Draper became 'agitated and volatile' after being told not to use his mobile phone and then kicked Inspector Stephen Bunn.

This led to the inspector using pepper spray to control him.

Draper, 37, was fined a total of �665, banned from driving for two years and, after a public outcry over his conduct, resigned from Waveney's Conservative group to become an Independent.

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But three weeks after his arrest, Mr Draper complained to Suffolk police – claiming he had actually been pepper sprayed before he kicked Insp Bunn and that the police had used excessive force to control him.

He insisted he had only kicked out after being pepper-sprayed in an 'involuntary act of self defence'.

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However, an investigation by Suffolk police's professional standards department has rejected Mr Draper's complaint. It found that – as previously stated in court – Insp Bunn had pepper sprayed him with Pava spray after he was kicked by the councillor and that he did not use excessive force.

A Suffolk police spokesman told the Journal: 'Suffolk Constabulary's Professional Standards department has looked into the complaint and police stand by the account given by the officers on the night, and given in court, that the inspector did not use the Pava spray prior to Mr Draper kicking him and did not use excessive force to control him when he became agitated and then violent towards him.

'Mr Draper had ample opportunity to raise his version of events at the time he was interviewed by police or during his court appearance. There was no challenge to the evidence and officer accounts given at court.

'Mr Draper chose to plead guilty and was sentenced for his crimes – drink driving and assaulting a police officer.

'Officers are regularly trained in the appropriate use of Pava spray and these guidelines were followed on the evening in question.

'There is absolutely nothing to suggest the inspector's actions were in any way at odds with his training or standard procedures used when an officer is attacked.'

In response, Mr Draper, of Martin Close, Carlton Colville, told The Journal: 'Naturally I am extremely disappointed by the findings of the complaints department and I would not have proceeded with this course of action if I did not believe they had a case to answer.....

'My priority now is to continue representing the people of Worlingham to the very best of my ability and I have put this entire business behind me.'

His resignation as a Tory councillor threw Waveney into political turmoil as it meant the ruling Conservative group were left with 22 seats to Labour's 23, leaving it reliant on the support of Mr Draper and council chairman Peter Collecott to win crunch votes in meetings.

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