Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - formerly IPCC)
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Officer’s use of force on a professional photographer during a Labour Party rally was not proportionate a misconduct panel finds

A Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) police officer has been found to have committed grossmisconduct following his use of force on a professional photographer at a Labour Party campaign event, the day before last year’s General Election

An independent panel at a misconduct hearing held by the MPS concluded that PC Mark Dawson breached the standards of professional behaviour and has been given a final written warning.

The hearing followed an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation into the use of force on the photographer on 7 June 2017. At a point during the rally in Colwyn Bay when media representatives were trying to follow Jeremy Corbyn from a stage through a gap to the Promenade, the photographer was restrained on the ground by PC Mark Dawson with the Royalty and Specialist Protection Command. 

A complaint was made by the photographer, who suffered minor physical injuries as well as damage to his cameras, which was voluntarily referred by the MPS to the IOPC.

Our investigation, which concluded in November last year, examined video footage and stills photographs from the event, as well as witness accounts from journalists, police officers and stewards.

At the end of our investigation, the MPS agreed that PC Dawson had a case to answer for gross misconduct over use of force and proceeded with the misconduct hearing. The matter was referred to the CPS who decided not to bring any criminal charges.   

 IOPC Regional Director, Jonathan Green, said:

 “This police interaction with a member of the press occurred in public view at a large event, and it was important for public confidence that we independently investigate the matter. It took place in a pressured environment the day before the General Election, when the threat to any party political event would be considered high.

“Police use of force must be proportionate, necessary, and reasonable and the individual officer must be able to justify it.

 “Our investigation concluded the officer’s actions could be considered disproportionate, and the MPS agreed. A panel has now ruled that PC Dawson was in breach of professional standards and he has been given a final written warning.”

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