A STUDENT from Newport has been awarded £4,000 in damages by South Wales Police after he was mistakenly arrested on suspicion of burglary.

Uyioghosa Emmanuel Aigbe, known as Emmanuel, was detained by police officers when he was walking through Cardiff city centre last September.

He had earlier spent the evening with friends, and shortly before his arrest he had entered the foyer of a building for around a minute while looking for a public toilet.

Mr Aigbe claims he was "jumped on" and "dropped on the floor" by police officers when he was walking in the city in the early hours Sunday, September 22, 2019.

The University of South Wales student had only been in the country for a fortnight and was unfamiliar with his surroundings.

Mr Aigbe said he was handcuffed "without some sort of communication to tell me what was happening [or] what I’m meant to have done".

Mr Aigbe was taken to a police station and "it took them about five hours to let me know what happened", he said.

Officers told him he was a suspect in a burglary case and, later that morning, interviewed Mr Aigbe with a solicitor present.

Mr Aigbe was released under investigation but police seized the money he had been carrying.


Later, South Wales Police confirmed they would take no further action, when the force realised no burglary had taken place.

The USW student decided to pursue a claim against the force following his treatment and wrongful arrest. He said he also visited the Royal Gwent Hospital a few days after the incident, where he was told he had soft tissue damage.

He was later awarded £4,000 and legal costs when the force settled with Mr Aigbe's legal representatives, Newport firm Collingbourne Hennah Law.

Speaking to the law firm, Mr Aigbe said the incident was "just not professional".

He added: "I think my trust in the police has been a bit compromised at the moment."

Mr Aigbe said he was unsure if there was a racial element to his experience, but questioned if his treatment "would have been a different way" if he was not black.

"For me, it was not a nice way to be treated coming into the UK," he said.

The Argus asked South Wales Police to comment on Mr Aigbe's arrest and his subsequent claims.

A spokesman for the force said any allegations of racism or any injuries suffered did not form part of Mr Aigbe's civil case against South Wales Police.

Regarding Mr Aigbe's claim of wrongful arrest, he added: "Officers responded to reports of a burglary in Cardiff city centre and arrested a man who had been seen on CCTV entering the building.

"It was later confirmed that no burglary had taken place and the man was released from police custody."

He said South Wales Police would seek to learn from the incident.

"We acknowledge that a mistake was made in arresting this man for burglary, and a full debrief of the incident to identify any opportunities for learning by South Wales Police is taking place and we remain absolutely committed to taking those forward," he said.