IPCC taking no action against South Yorkshire Police officer over HIV test comments

Boyd Livingstone-Navin.
Boyd Livingstone-Navin.

The police watchdog will take no action against a senior police officer who faced criticism over comments made about colleagues undergoing HIV tests.

The controversy centered on comments made by Zuleika Payne, chair of the South Yorkshire branch of the Police Federation, during an interview with Toby Foster on BBC Radio Sheffield in July.

Zuleika Payne.

Zuleika Payne.

She was speaking about South Yorkshire Police's decision to introduce controversial spit guards from next year, in which a transparent mesh fabric hood is placed on a suspect arrested to prevent them from spitting at officers.

Officer Payne - a former equality lead for the area - told how some colleagues had to undergo HIV tests after being spat at by suspects who were in the process of being arrested.

But the comments sparked outrage with listener and sexual health worker Boyd Livingstone-Navin, who said it is impossible to contract HIV through spitting and claimed the officer only served to 'perpetuate stigma' around the infection.

He complained to South Yorkshire Police's professional standards department which cleared the officer of any wrongdoing.

Spit hoods.

Spit hoods.

Mr Livingstone-Navin, who worked for Sheffield Council for 12 years as a senior analyst promoting sexual health and is a former chair of the Sheffield LGBT Network, appealed against the decision to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

But the IPCC has decided to take no further action.

In a letter sent to Mr Livingstone-Navin and seen by The Star, the police watchdog states: "A person cannot be a complainant by claiming to be adversely affected if he or she has only seen or heard the conduct or its alleged effects unless he or she was physically present or sufficiently nearby when the conduct took place."

It adds that a complaint could also only be made if the alleged victim was adversely affected because "he or she already knew the person in relation to whom the conduct took place."

The IPCC concluded: "I am not satisfied that in hearing the broadcast you were, as defined by IPCC statutory guidance, witness to the alleged conduct or adversely affected by the conduct.

"Due to this, your appeal has not been upheld in respect of this part of your complaint."

Mr Livingstone-Navin has now written to his MP for North East Derbyshire Lee Rowley asking for the politician to look into the issue.