A police raid on a community justice centre has been described as “totally over the top” after seven vehicles were called to deal with a belt buckle mistaken for an offensive weapon.
Offenders at Dundee’s Community Justice Services on Barrack Street were left stunned on Wednesday after officers “piled in” shortly after 1pm and carried out searches for “knives or a knuckle duster” at the centre.
One eyewitness said as many as 20 officers ran into the premises and were also seen in streets surrounding the office, which lies on the corner of South Ward Road opposite the Howff Cemetery.
Police Scotland have defended their response to the incident but individuals reporting for community service claimed they were unfairly treated and “victimised” because of their past offences. It is understood a lock knife was later discovered on the premises.
Joseph Tracey, 30, of Clepington Road, hit out at the treatment of one man who he claimed was held up against a wall after police stormed the building.
He said: “I told the officer ‘you can’t do that’ but he didn’t listen. You could see his hand going red under the pressure.
“It was totally over the top. It was like two police to one person in there. The whole room just felt full”.
Simon Robertson, 38, from the Kirkton area, said: “A huge number of officers piled in and told everyone to put their hands on the table.
“From the size of the response you would have thought there was some kind of massacre going on inside.
“I suffer from anxiety and honestly, I felt like I was going to be sick. I think we were discriminated against because of our past but it’s not like we’re major criminals.”
Inspector Kerry Lynch pointed to the force’s duty to protect the public and backed the response of those called to the scene.
She said: “Officers responded to a call that offensive weapons were within the premises at Barrack Street, Dundee.
“Searches of individuals were carried out and no arrests were made, however a belt buckle similar to a knuckle duster was found and a lock knife discarded in a bin.
“The safety of members of the public is paramount and officers responded accordingly.”