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Experience of police bullying gives insight into Mitchell's loss of faith

According to your report concerning the "stitching-up" of the Coalition Government's former chief whip, Andrew Mitchell ("Tory fury at police union in row over 'pleb remark'", The Herald, December 24), former Conservative police minister Nick Herbert stated that "the sensible majority [of police officers] need to understand how badly they are being let down by a hot-headed minority who have gone too far".

Mr Mitchell stressed that he now feels his lifelong confidence in the police has been misplaced, adding, "If this can happen to a senior Government minister, what chance would a youth in Brixton or Handsworth have?"

Following a distressing encounter I had recently with a heavy-handed Strathclyde Police officer, I would warn readers that any law-abiding citizen is liable to be arrested and fined, right here in Scotland.

For many years a favourite walk of mine took me through St James Park in Paisley, across the M8 slip roads when the traffic lights were red, then through Paisley Moss Nature Reserve to Glasgow Airport. I have completed this walk several hundred times without incident.

One day in October I had just crossed the off slip from the M8 when I was hailed by one of two police officers in a police car. The older officer pinned me against the parapet of the bridge over the M8, subjected me to a brutal interrogation as to my name and address, profession, relatives, mental and medical state etc. Then, when I protested about his conduct, he said he would have to arrest me. I was then handcuffed, bundled into his car, driven to Paisley's Mill Street station, placed in a cell and, as a first offender, issued with a £40 fixed penalty for alleged breach of the police.

As Strathclyde Police's K Division ignored my complaint until I contacted my MSP George Adam, it will also be the subject of a complaint to the Police Complaints Commissioner for Scotland.

If nothing is done to improve matters we are well on the way to being a fully-fledged police state. Certainly, like Mr Mitchell, my view of the police has been seriously jaundiced.

Robert D Campbell,

48 McLean Place,

Paisley,

Renfrewshire.

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