In the Media

Police 'made disabled boy walk'

PUBLISHED March 1, 2006

The family of a boy with cerebral palsy have claimed police ordered him off his mobility scooter to prove that he had difficulty walking unaided.

Keiron Sheppard, 11, said he was stopped near his home in Ton Pentre, Rhondda, and questioned about why he was riding the motorised buggy. When he said he could not walk far without it, he said he was asked to stand up to show the officers.  South Wales Police said there would be a full investigation into the incident.  Keiron was born with cerebral palsy, a brain condition that affects his ability to walk.  He was on his way to the local fish and chip shop with his eight-year-old sister Cara and another friend, when he was stopped by police.

Keiron said: "They wouldn't believe I was entitled to use the scooter and told me to get up and walk to prove I'm disabled.   "They must have thought I had stolen the scooter or something and, in the end, I had to show them I could hardly walk.  "I find it hard to walk more than a few steps - it was horrible to have to show the policemen that I am disabled.  "I am extremely annoyed and want an apology from the police for treating me like a criminal."  His grandfather, Roger Bargewell, said Keiron did not start to walk until the age of five and had only recently been able to walk short distances. 

'Problems with limbs'

Mr Bargewell added: "Keiron battled through cerebral palsy and needs the scooter because of problems with his limbs.  "The police should be helping - not stopping - people on mobility scooters."  Chief Superintendent Jeff Farrar, of South Wales Police, said an investigation would take place.  He added: "I have asked one of my officers to look into this matter and to make contact with the family to find out what we can do to reassure them. 

'Not horrible people'

"This matter will be vigorously investigated.  "If the circumstances described by Keiron are accurate, such behaviour is clearly unacceptable and we will get to the bottom of it as quickly as we can."  A spokeswoman for the force said it had offered to take Keiron out for a ride in a police car.  She said: "We have not yet been able to find out exactly what happened but it is obvious that Keiron has been upset.  "To make up for it we would like to take him out for a drive so he can talk to officers and be reassured that we are not horrible people."