A PENSIONER has accused police of assault and criminal damage after officers bashed down his door and allegedly dragged him out of his bathroom believing he was a suicide risk.

Colin Prince was on the phone to his energy supplier on April 1 and, having grown frustrated due to issues with his electricity and perceived lack of customer support, said he joked to the call operative he would take his own life.

The 78-year-old, who lives off Whittington Road, Worcester, said he confirmed with the operative he was not suicidal before police came crashing in at about 6pm.

“The first thing I knew about it the police were banging down the door. The doorbell wasn’t working as I’d turned off the mains electricity.

“I didn’t hear them knocking at the door. There was an almighty crashing and then they were shouting ‘police, police, police!’”

Mr Prince said he had got into bed after the phone call and dashed into the bathroom when the police arrived.

However, the police have said they are not liable for any damage cause and chief Supt Mark Travis said they had acted with "integrity and courage".

Speaking of the incident, Mr Prince said: “When I heard this crash, I went to the bathroom and locked the door. They unlocked the door from the outside. I was sitting on the toilet. I said nothing. I had my hands over my ears. One officer tried to drag me out, which was assault. If you do that to a policeman, it’s assault. It’s absolutely frustrating.”

He said the police appeared to have looked in every room of his house during the incident and left his back door and gate open.

“When they broke in, they left all the doors open,” he said. “They walked round the house, into the lounge, and left the back gate open. They had no reason to go into every room.”

Mr Prince criticised the officers for not calling up to him for the passcode for the key safe box next to the front door, rather than smashing the door itself.

He said the police had the door boarded up and a couple of days later he received a bill of just over £200.

He said the door will also cost around £1,000 to replace which the police have refused to reimburse him for.

“As it was an aluminium door and had come out of alignment, it couldn’t be locked. I had to leave it unlocked for three or four days. I put a chair against it.”

Mr Prince reported the incident to West Mercia Police Complaints & Professional Standards department.

He believes the constabulary is liable for the costs of the door and plans to take them to small claims court.

“I say they are liable and it’s criminal damage. I want to charge all the policemen with criminal damage and trespassing and the police force with criminal damage and aiding and abetting trespassing. I will put in a complaint to the small claims court.”

Speaking to the Worcester News, Chief Supt Mark Travis said: “Police Officers frequently face challenging circumstances and make split second decisions that involve personal risk.

“These officers have acted to help someone who they genuinely believed to be in crisis, something we as police officers have a moral and legal obligation to do.

“When police officers act with integrity and courage they should be supported and commended.

“In this case they were decisive, considered and showed compassion; I believe this is what the community expects from their police officers.”

In a letter to Mr Prince, Rachel Wych, senior complaints and misconduct manager, Complaints & Professional Standards, said the complaint does not meet the conditions for an appeal to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

However, she said Mr Prince does have the right to appeal to the Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police Independent Appeals Panel.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to express regret on behalf of Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police for the fact you were dissatisfied with the service you received on this occasion.

“I hope that the manner in which this matter was subsequently been dealt with has gone some way to restoring your trust and confidence in the service we deliver.”

In an action plan report submitted to the Complaints & Professional Standards department, Inspector Dave Troth said eight officers in total went to Mr Prince’s property, as well as ambulance staff.

He said they were there for 90 minutes but Mr Prince “would not speak”.

The inspector went on to say: “Officers have since visited Mr Prince whom is now [in] better spirits and communication and engagement is now possible.

“Our actions have been explained to Mr Prince and responsibilities in regards to the damage to the door.”

Insp Troth wrote that Mr Prince has provided a new code for the key safe and “agreed to agency support and the referrals have been completed and submitted”.

“The officers are fully aware of Mr Prince and his vulnerabilities and will continue to engage where necessary.

“West Mercia Police are not liable to the damage caused and the actions of officers were wholly appropriate, necessary and proportionate in the circumstances.”