Businessman says he was strip searched after being arresting for lockdown trip
A businessman who went to a beauty spot with his family says he was strip-searched by police after he was arrested and handcuffed for breaching the coronavirus rules.
Radek Kotlarek, 39, from Rhos-on-Sea in Conwy , said he, his wife Marta and son went to Talacre for a “mental break” over fears the teenager was suffering during the current lockdown.
Mr Kotlarek, a reputation management firm boss, said the current restrictions had left the family enduring the trauma of not seeing their loved ones in Poland including his wife’s brother who is seriously-ill, North Wales Live reports.
The family made the 20 mile trip before they bought some ice-cream when they were approached by two officers from North Wales Police on Sunday.
But when the dad-of-two refused to give them his name he was handcuffed and taken in for questioning.
Mr Kotlarek claims he refused because he was trying to “reason” with them.
Footage shared on Twitter by Neil McEvoy, a Welsh parliament member, shows Mr Kotlarek in handcuffs.
Mr Kotlarek claimed after being taken into custody he was told he would be “strip-searched” unless he gave his name.
He claimed officers threatened to cut his clothes off – before he voluntarily undressed.
Mr McEvoy MS, the leader of the Propel party, called for the arresting officers to be suspended and for a full investigation to be launched.
North Wales Police said Mr Kotlarek was arrested as officers suspected a breach of coronavirus regulations. The force insisted the officers acted in a “calm and reasonable way”.
Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Mr Kotlarek said: “I felt like it was abuse of power, so I did not give my name.
“I was telling them this journey was for our well-being. I was trying to reason with them. I told the officers ‘I didn’t do anything wrong’.
“My family was struggling with many issues that are sourced in the constant lockdowns and homeschooling.
“On top of that came personal family problems which we faced in the last months. They include the very serious illness of my wife’s brother and death of close relatives.
“We were not even able to say goodbye or go and attend the funeral in Poland.
“Is it not our most basic human right to decide for ourselves what is good and essential for our well being?”
After he was handcuffed Mr Kotlarek claims he was told he would be released if he gave his name but he refused to do as he believed he hadn’t committed a crime.
He claimed: “When I was taken to the station they said I could be detained for up to 24 hours and treated me like a criminal.
“They took me to an interrogation room and said if I didn’t give my name they would strip search me.”
He said it was only when an officer went for scissors to cut his clothes off that he voluntarily undressed and put on a paper suit he’d been supplied with.
Mr Kotlarek spent around three hours in custody and was released at 6pm on Sunday without charge.
He has not yet received a fixed penalty notice.
Chief superintendent Nigel Harrison said: “The person was spoken to at Talacre beach as officers reasonably suspected he had committed an offence, which in this case was a breach in Coronavirus regulations.
“The man, who is from the seaside town of Rhos on Sea some 22 miles away, was arrested because his details could not be ascertained at the time in order to be reported for the suspected breach.
“The officers behaved in a calm and reasonable way as I would have expected.
“As is always the case, if the individual wishes to query or complain about the way they were treated then of course we will review the full circumstances.”
Claims that Mr Koltarek was strip-searched while in custody were put to the force.
Mr Kotlarek said he is considering bringing a formal complaint against North Wales Police about his treatment.
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