The hearing conducted by the MPS Directorate of Professional Standards, looked into the actions of six police officers in July 2009.
In the early hours of Friday, 17 July, 2009, a Citroen Saxo failed to stop for police officers and was pursued into the Grange Estate, East Finchley. Four men remained inside the vehicle while the driver decamped and was not traced.
In September 2009 a complaint alleging assault and excessive force was made by three of the men now aged 21, 33 and 35 (aged 18, 31 and 33 at the time), and the incident was referred to the IPCC, who decided to manage the investigation into the actions of the officers involved.
The investigation found that two of the occupants of the Citroen Saxo were forcibly removed from the vehicle by the officers, despite them being compliant. None of the occupants were arrested and all were detained without being told their rights or entitlements. During the course of their detention all three complainants sustained injuries of varying degrees, including a serious nose injury in the case of one of the men. The officers were unable to reasonably account for their actions and their use of force.
The IPCC submitted a file to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in January 2010 in connection with the assault allegations for which there was a statutory time limit but the CPS decided not to bring criminal proceedings.
When the investigation was completed in May 2010 the case was again referred to the CPS and in November 2010 the CPS decided not to bring any criminal proceedings.
Consideration was then given as to whether the actions of individual officers met the threshold for misconduct under the Police (Conduct) Regulations 2008. The investigation found there were individual failings by six officers, four amounting to gross misconduct, for which the MPS proposed that the four officers should face a misconduct hearing. The hearing concluded on Tuesday, 20 December.
Misconduct proceedings are pending for two further officers involved in the incident.
The panel found that the standards of behaviour for use of force and discreditable conduct were breached in respect of all four officers, and the breaches were so serious as to amount to gross misconduct.
The panel decided breaches by two officers, aged 40 and 37 based at Barnet police station, were so serious they were dismissed. Breaches by two other officers were less serious therefore they received final written warnings.
IPCC Commissioner for London Deborah Glass said:
“In this case the misconduct panel, which heard evidence both from the complainants and the police officers, found that it was the conduct of the police officers which escalated the incident and which led to the officers deliberately and unnecessarily using disproportionate force. The outcome of the hearing should give the public confidence that in those cases where the actions of police do cross the line, they are held to account.
“The police interact with the public daily on our streets and the overwhelming majority of these interactions do not result in complaints. But where the police use their powers to stop people, or to use force, they must do so reasonably and proportionately. People who feel aggrieved by police actions should make complaints – and this case demonstrates that where the evidence supports it, robust action will be taken.”
In addition, the IPCC investigation also made recommendations for areas of learning for individual officers and the MPS. These recommendations have been sent to the MPS.
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