Met Po­lice driver un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion

Of­fi­cer could face crim­i­nal charges af­ter ram­ming 17-year-old rider off moped.

Motorcycle Monthly - - News -

A po­lice of­fi­cer could be fac­ing crim­i­nal charges, af­ter knock­ing a teenager off a moped while car­ry­ing out the Met’s new ram­ming tac­tics.

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the In­de­pen­dent Of­fice for Po­lice Con­duct (IOPC) was launched af­ter the col­li­sion in Eastern Way, Erith, at around 2.15am on No­vem­ber 7 last year. The of­fi­cer car­ried out the ‘tac­ti­cal con­tact’ to stop a 17-year-old boy from rid­ing dan­ger­ously. The rider (who was not wear­ing a hel­met) was ad­mit­ted to hospi­tal with se­ri­ous head in­juries as a re­sult of the po­lice ma­noeu­vre – but was later dis­charged. And now, a de­ci­sion is due over whether ev­i­dence gath­ered by the po­lice watch­dog should be passed onto pros­e­cu­tors.

The tac­tic has been used 60 times since Jan­uary by the Met in its fight against moped crime – and so far there’s been three in­juries fol­low­ing pur­suits by of­fi­cers, although not all were due to tac­ti­cal con­tact. The Met said it had self-re­ferred all in­stances to the IOPC.

An IOPC spokesman said: “Ul­ti­mately no po­lice tac­tic can ever be used with im­punity in a coun­try where we po­lice by con­sent – be that tac­ti­cal con­tact, the use of firearms or the use of re­straint. It is al­ways a mat­ter of whether it’s rea­son­able and pro­por­tion­ate in the cir­cum­stances. But it would be wrong to of­fer guar­an­tees in ev­ery case. In­de­pen­dent scru­tiny is a vi­tal part of pub­lic con­fi­dence in the way polic­ing is done.”

If he is pros­e­cuted, the of­fi­cer could be charged with ac­tual bod­ily harm or griev­ous bod­ily harm. And the Met could also de­cide if there is a case to an­swer for mis­con­duct, which could even­tu­ally re­sult in dis­missal.

The boy later pleaded guilty to five of­fences at youth court, in­clud­ing theft, dan­ger­ous driv­ing, and driv­ing with­out a li­cence.

The tac­tic of highly-trained po­lice of­fi­cers us­ing their ve­hi­cles to knock ‘moped’ thieves off their bikes has proved con­tro­ver­sial. But se­nior of­fi­cers, in­clud­ing the Met’s com­mis­sioner Cres­sida Dick (see op­po­site), have de­fended the use of tac­ti­cal con­tact, say­ing it was needed to stop dan­ger­ous chases and has helped re­duce moped crime in Lon­don by more than a third. The tac­tic has also been backed by Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May, who said a “ro­bust” re­sponse was needed from po­lice to what she de­scribed as a grow­ing prob­lem of peo­ple us­ing mopeds to com­mit crimes such as bag and phone-snatch­ing.

“We’ve had to put the fear back into the crim­i­nal. These are peo­ple who have been re­peat­edly left in no doubt what­so­ever that there’s a po­lice car right be­hind them.” Metropoli­tan Po­lice com­mis­sioner Cres­sida Dick

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