Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - formerly IPCC)
Learning for Met officer over Finsbury Park arrest
An Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation of a complaint by a driver who was stopped and searched in Walworth, south London, found no case to answer for misconduct but has resulted in three Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) officers being told to attend a community stop and search event.
We recommended that the officers should attend this to understand the impact felt by those in the community who have been subjected to the tactic. The MPS has also agreed to write a letter to the driver detailing that he was not connected with any wrongdoing at the time of the incident and apologise for any inconvenience caused.
The 38-year-old man was stopped while driving in Walworth Road, SE17 on 5 May 2020 and a video from the incident was shared widely on social media. The driver and his car were searched under the Misuse of Drugs Act, and although handcuffs were not used it was suggested by one of the four officers present that they could be.
We began our independent investigation on 19 May 2020 after the man complained that the officers racially profiled him prior to the search, and that he was subsequently treated differently because of his race. The man believed that as he had previous interaction with the same officers, this initial encounter influenced the officers’ decision to search him. He also complained that the officers failed to observe social distancing rules.
Our investigation was completed in May this year. The evidence we gathered did not suggest the complainant was racially profiled. We found the decision to make the stop was based on local intelligence including knowledge of drug dealing and gang activity there. We confirmed through body worn video (BWV) that the officers did not know who was in the car before it was stopped, as it had tinted windows.
As part of our investigation we also reviewed the officers’ previous stop and search records and the rationale provided by the officers for their actions.
Based on the evidence gathered, we found no case to answer for misconduct for any of the officers. However, we did identify a number of performance issues where the officers’ behaviour had fallen short of public expectations. These included making or failing to challenge comments which, while not made within earshot of the complainant, could have been construed as disrespectful. Social distancing guidelines were breached by three officers during the incident and BWV was not used in accordance with policy.
The force accepted that while these breaches did not meet the threshold for disciplinary action, the officers should be subject to reflective practice. Following our recommendations this included three of them having further equality and diversity training; attending a community event on stop and search to listen to and understand the impact felt by those in the community who have been subjected to the policing tactic; and to further reflect on their conflict management and use of de-escalation tactics.
IOPC Regional Director Sal Naseem yesterday said:
“Stop and search is an important policing tool but its use must be reasonable, proportionate and necessary.
“It is an intrusive power which disproportionately affects Black communities. The community needs to have confidence that racial bias plays no part in how this policing power is used. Without this, the trust and confidence they have in the police service will diminish.
“In this case we found no case to answer for misconduct, but we did find that this incident could have been handled better and identified learning in the form of reflective practice. That’s why we recommended the police officers involved engage with the community itself to understand the impact their actions can have.”
Evidence gathered during our investigation included taking statements from the complainant, the officers involved and other witnesses. We also looked at BWV footage, and studied policing policies concerning stop and search, BWV and the use of personal protective equipment.
Latest News from
Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - formerly IPCC)
Met officer dismissed over failures to investigate prior to woman's murder18/05/2022 16:30:00
A Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) officer was dismissed without notice for failing in her duties to investigate allegations of harassment and voyeurism, and for failing to safeguard a woman before she was murdered by her estranged husband in April 2020.
Gross misconduct found for Met officer who wanted to meet crime victim for drink17/05/2022 09:10:00
A Metropolitan Police Service officer who attempted to form an inappropriate relationship with a woman he met while on duty would have been dismissed without notice if he had not already resigned, a police disciplinary panel has ruled.
Independent Office for Police Conduct calls on young people to share their experiences of policing13/05/2022 09:25:00
The impact of the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) Youth Panel, working with Leaders Unlocked, has been growing steadily since it was founded in 2018. Their report, published last year, suggested that policing, and experiences of policing, were polarising some young people and contributing to a feeling of isolation.
Greater Manchester Police officers involved in Wigan pursuit acted appropriately11/05/2022 12:25:00
An Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation into the actions of police prior to, and immediately following, a serious collision in Wigan found the officers involved acted appropriately throughout.
Appeal for further information after man’s death following collision with Sussex Police vehicle10/05/2022 09:10:00
The Independent Office for Police Conduct is reviewing a large amount of video footage as its investigation continues into the death of 27-year-old Arthur Hoelscher-Ermert after he was struck by a Sussex Police vehicle in Peacehaven at around 11.10pm on Saturday 30 April.
Former Humberside PCSO jailed for misconduct in public office09/05/2022 12:25:00
A former Humberside Police PCSO was recently (06 May 2022) jailed for two years and 10 months after an investigation carried out by the force and managed by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) found he had formed inappropriate relationships with women he met through his job.
Criminal investigation begins after man’s death following collision with Sussex Police vehicle09/05/2022 09:10:00
The Independent Office for Police Conduct investigation into the death of a 27-year-old man who was involved in a collision with a Sussex Police vehicle has gathered a substantial amount of evidence.
Witness appeal after man dies following collision with Sussex Police vehicle04/05/2022 12:20:00
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is appealing for witnesses and footage from the scene of a road collision involving Sussex Police, after which a man died.