A father demanded an apology from police after he was arrested and locked in a cell overnight for smacking his son’s leg.
Mark Frearson said he told off his son Harry because the seven-year-old walked off alone after dark while they were out shopping.
Three hours later four police officers and a specialist child support officer arrived at his house, took Harry away in a police car, arrested Mr Frearson on suspicion of assault and locked him in a cell.
After about an hour he said officers told him they could not carry out an interview as the witness ‘was not in a condition to give a statement.’
Mr Frearson, a director at a parcel company, had to spend the night in the cell and was released the next day after the witness was interviewed and withdrew their accusation.
The 47-year-old has made a formal complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Commission about the ordeal.
He said the police reaction was ‘massively over-the-top’ and the experience was traumatic for his son.
Mr Frearson, from Plymouth, Devon, said: ‘I find it shocking how easy it is to have someone arrested. To think that all this happened on the back of one allegation.
‘I appreciate the police’s concern but even if they felt they had to take Harry away I don’t understand why they felt it necessary to arrest me and lock me up before interviewing me or the witness.
Mr Frearson said the incident happened last Tuesday at around 6pm.
He said it was dark and he told Harry to stay with him. When he realised he had left the shop there was a ten minute search and he was found outside in a nearby park.
He said he smacked Harry once on the back of his leg and the two returned home.
‘My ex-wife Kate also told them the accusation was ridiculous.
‘There were about 20 people around at the time I told Harry off and CCTV but they still locked me up.’
A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall police said as a formal complaint had been made they could not comment on the incident.