Police explain hero's arrest after he saves woman

Man's act was "courageous" - but still no honour


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Hounslow Police are praising the 'public spirited' actions of a man who came to the defense of a woman being attacked near Boston Manor tube station - despite arresting him following his 'courageous' act.

John Cann, 19, was driving near the station on January 30th when he saw a man smash a woman's windscreen and attempt to drag her from her car.

Cann was attacked by the man, who was swinging a studded dog collar. However Cann punched the man to the ground. Police arrived, but the woman was too scared to press charges. Instead, they arrested Cann on suspicion of causing Actual Bodily Harm. He was released after five hours, but his fingerprints, photograph and DNA profile remain on police files - causing concern to his family that this may lead to suspicions being raised in the future.

There was further controversy when Police refused to consider giving Cann an honour for his bravery, with Ali Dizaei, the Borough Commander for Hounslow, saying that "The Metropolitan Police does not condone members of the public taking the law into their own hands and will therefore not be recommending Mr Cann for any form of reward".

However local Police have now released a statement explaining the circumstances, with a senior Inspector telling www.brentfordTW8.com: "In my view, the actions of Mr Cann were creditable and may have prevented a serious assault on the woman involved.

"There are a number of issues which have been raised in this case - the arrest of Mr Cann, the
taking and retention of his DNA and comments about ‘the public taking the law into their own
hands’. The arrest of Mr Cann was correct due to the circumstances at the time. However, as
soon as the true nature of Mr Cann’s intervention was discovered he was released without
charge. Mr Cann’s DNA was taken lawfully and Section 118 of the Serious Organised Crime and
Police Act 2005 governs our actions relating to this. The Act does not allow for samples to be
destroyed or deleted from the database, although it does place restrictions on how the data is
used for someone cleared of an offence. An entry on this DNA database in not the same as having a criminal record. It is true that we do not condone members of the public taking the law into their own hands. However Mr Cann’s actions were intended to protect someone, who may have been seriously injured had he not stepped in.

"Mr Cann’s actions on the night of the 30 January were courageous. His public-spirited
intervention prevented a more serious offence from taking place."

March 23, 2006