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Anichebe gets police chief apology; Fresh call for review of street questioning CCTV footage.

Byline: BY RICHARD DOWN Daily Post Staff

A TOP police officer has personally apologised to Everton FC star Victor Anichebe over his treatment on a Knutsford street.

But Cheshire Constabulary has firmly denied any racial overtones to the incident last Wednesday.

The 20-year-old footballer was surrounded by officers while window shopping with a friend and accused of attempted theft.

His friend, Yeovil Town FC midfielder Lee Peltier, was handcuffed and Anichebe claimed his crutch was taken away.

The confrontation took place days after he underwent knee surgery in London.

Last week, the force apologised publicly, but the Nigerian international rejected the gesture as inadequate.

Last night, assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan met with Mr Anichebe at his home and apologised face-toface on behalf of the force.

This time, the apology was accepted.

A police spokesman said: "During this meeting, the opportunity was extended for Mr Anichebe to view the CCTV footage so that his actions and those of his friend which had raised the concerns and resulted in the officer speaking with them, could be placed into context.

"This offer of viewing the CCTV footage was declined by Mr Anichebe.

"There is, however, a separate issue which raises great concern to the constabulary and its staff.

"It has been intimated that the officer's actions were prompted by the fact that Mr Anichebe and his friend are black. This is not the case and the constabulary strongly refutes such allegations.

"This was accepted by Mr Anichebe at today's meeting."

Everton FC spokesman Ian Ross said: "We're happy that it's been resolved amicably."

The Anichebe family, who have lived in Crosby since 1990, are understood to have been upset by the episode.

The incident was captured on CCTV and the footage has since been reviewed by a panel consisting of senior constabulary personnel and independent members, including the chair of the Independent Advisory Group.

Now Vinny Tomlinson, chair of the Merseyside Black Police Association, is calling for that footage to be reviewed again.

He said: "Such are the community concerns and fears that have been voiced to me, I believe that the IPCC should establish exactly what it was about Mr Anichebe's behaviour that aroused suspicion.

"The sequence of events which led to the wrongful killing of De Menezes included an assumption he fitted a similar racial profile to that of a suspected terrorist.

"I have no doubt personal prejudices can and continue to influence the professional decision making of many of my colleagues, often to the detriment of our black communities.

"There must be no complacency in addressing this by chief officers."

Cheshire police have emphasised the incident involving Mr Anichebe was not the result of prejudice.

They added officers will continue to act robustly to end a string of jeweller's robberies in the area.

CAPTION(S):

Victor Anichebe being questioned by police in Knutsford Picture: SEAN REYNOLDS, of IPphonesolutions, of Knutsford.; Victor Anichebe; ACC Garry Shewan
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 17, 2009
Words:486
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