A police officer involved in the restraint of a man who died in police custody told an inquest he had received no training in how to search for an item concealed in someone's mouth.

DC Richard Bazeley was one of a number of Thames Valley Police officers who restrained Habib Ullah during a stop and search in High Wycombe, during which a packet of drugs became lodged in Mr Ullah's throat.

During the restraint Mr Ullah was repeatedly slapped on the back to get him to cough up the packet, before another officer tried to prise his mouth open, the inquest heard on Tuesday.

Mr Ullah, 39, then 'went limp' during the search, which happened in Sharrow Vale, High Wycombe, on July 3, 2008. He died later the same day.

Officers initially thought Mr Ullah, known as Paps, was faking illness as he clamped his mouth shut in a bid to conceal the drugs, the inquest heard.

When police contacted the ambulance control room to inform them what had happened and request assistance, an telephone operative joked: "Have you guys been a bit rough again?"

Jurors at Beaconsfield Coroner's Court heard Mr Ullah was taken to the ground by officers and pinned down, before DS Jason Liles slapped him on the back to get him to cough up the package.

DC Bazeley said: "I can't remember if I saw it or if it's something I subsequently read - I'm aware he [DS Liles] has tried to reach over the top of his head and pulled his head back."

The Ullah family lawyer, Anthony Metzer QC, said during this manoeuvre DS Liles' hand slipped and a finger entered Mr Ullah's eye socket. DS Liles also used a restraint technique on nerves in Mr Ullah's three times, the inquest heard.

It was put to DC Bazeley that colleague PC Christopher Pomery then gripped Mr Ullah by the throat "for at least a few seconds". The officer replied: "I didn't see that so can't confirm."

Mr Metzer asked DC Bazeley if he thought the backslap had caused Mr Ullah to swallow the package. He said: "No, I just thought at some point he swallowed it. It didn't cross my mind the backslap caused it to be swallowed. I don't know when it happened.

"When the backslap was delivered, he's turned his back and covered his mouth. I don't think it would be possible to know whether he had or hadn't swallowed the package. I believed he had swallowed it - I don't know when."

The officer said: "The idea of striking in the back is to propel the object from the mouth. When people are held they usually go, 'ahhh', and it falls out.

"It was all aimed at getting the package out of the mouth for his own safety, and at the same time recovering evidence."

He said the slap was intended to take Mr Ullah by surprise, adding he had been taught the technique through basic first aid training rather than anything relating to police tactics.

Mr Metzer asked: "You have never had training from Thames Valley Police about searching people's mouths?"

DC Bazeley replied: "Yes, I have never had any training." He went on to say he had still not received any further training.

DC Bazeley went on to say he "wasn't aware" it was policy to warn suspects of the intention to open their mouths to carry out a search.

He said: "There was a policy in place at the time that I'd never seen, or been trained in or told about. I believe the policy has subsequently been amended since this incident."

He said this policy came from the Associate of Chief Police Officers rather than Thames Valley Police.

DC Bazeley said the use of force used on Mr Ullah had to be 'reasonable', as set out in police guidelines - but said restraint was used quicker than may ordinarily be the case due to the suspect's past history of violence towards officers.

Asked if Mr Ullah was a threat to officers, DC Bazeley said: "No, but we were executing a drug search where we are allowed to use reasonable force.

"I think it's a situation he'd been familiar with, being restrained by police."

Mr Metzer asked: "Did you do anything at all to generate voluntary compliance, or did you and your colleagues resort simply to violence?" DC Bazeley replied: "We had voluntary compliance throughout the search - he chose to change his situation."

He added: "He said it was an abscess [that was the reason for him not opening his mouth] - it was clear he wasn't going to comply.

"It was quite clear Mr Ullah didn't want to resolve the situation by talking to us. He's known to me to be a violent person. Once he's chosen to raise his level of resistance to active resistance, it would be a risky situation to put myself in to try and talk to him.

"He had recently assaulted another officer in another incident. It's one of the reasons we went to the use of force quicker, because we knew his history."

DC Bazeley admitted an instruction to "break his arm" - referring to a technique to stop Mr Ullah from shielding himself with his arms locked - may have caused Mr Ullah to panic if he had taken it in the literal sense. He said it was a "unique command" he had not heard before or since.

He added there was a possibility of arresting Mr Ullah, but it was procedure to arrest compliant suspects while they were standing and to handcuff non-compliant people when they were on the ground and being restrained.

He added he did not carry out CPR as Mr Ullah was still breathing.

The inquest hearing continues.