Minister to raise claim woman was sexually assaulted by officers with police watchdog

Policing minister Chris Philp is to contact the police watchdog following a Sky News investigation in which a woman claims she was drugged and sexually assaulted in police custody.

Mr Philp congratulated home editor Jason Farell for his reporting of Zayna Iman’s experience with Greater Manchester Police (GMP).

After being arrested and held in custody for 40 hours, Zayna believes she was drugged and assaulted by officers – and when she asked for CCTV footage of her detention, several hours of tape were missing.

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A former GMP superintendent, Martin Harding, examined the evidence from GMP and told Sky he believes the 38-year old was “was raped by an officer and I believe the organisation is covering it up”.

Mr Philp told Sky he was going to speak to the Independent Office of Police Conduct and make them sure they are aware of the case.

“I can’t direct them to do a particular thing, but I’m going to draw this case to their attention today,” he said.

“If they’re not investigating it already – which they might be – I want to put it on their radar screens.”

The minister said he would also be speaking to GMP about the matter.

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Sky’s strip search story ‘needs investigating’

Nick Thomas-Symonds, who is shadow trade secretary, called for all the footage to be handed over.

The Labour frontbencher added that an “appropriate criminal investigation” should take place into the force if it is necessary.

Ms Iman was arrested in February 2021 after police followed up on a welfare callout about a woman high on cocaine.

Once they entered her flat, Ms Iman knocked a police officer’s glasses off and was subsequently arrested.

After being detained, she was stripped and then dressed in just a pair of oversized custody shorts.

There are several gaps in the CCTV footage and inconsistencies in the custody log about Ms Iman’s stay.

Mr Harding told Sky News he thought it would be easy for GMP to disprove the allegations – but the lack of the footage makes him think Ms Iman was raped.

After her release, Zayna went straight to hospital. Her medical report states: “Miss Iman does not have any prior history of mental disorder, she has been admitted with an acute psychotic episode which has resolved without treatment. It is highly likely that this is drug related to ‘the date rape drug’ which led to a sexual assault.” Medical records also indicate sexual injuries.

A spokesperson for GMP said: “Greater Manchester Police is committed to delivering outstanding service to all those the force comes in to contact with. If service is proven to have fallen below an acceptable level, the force apologises and takes the necessary action.

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Are women safe in custody?

“GMP is aware that these three individuals are unhappy with the service they received when they were arrested and detained – their complaints have or are being investigated by the force. Though one investigation is ongoing, there is currently no evidence to suggest any GMP employees have misconducted themselves or committed a criminal offence.

“Under the definition within the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, two of these individuals were not strip searched. Due to concerns for their welfare, their clothing was removed and replaced with anti-rip garments – this process is subject to different legislation and guidance.”

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