MPS officer dismissed without notice after gross misconduct proven

26 Jul 2021 01:55 AM

A Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) officer has been dismissed without notice after a disciplinary panel heard the officer lied about how he retrieved handcuffs from a man who had earlier run away from officers who attempted to stop and search him.

The outcome follows our investigation.

An independently chaired disciplinary panel found gross misconduct proven against PC Robert Powell, based at South East Command Unit, at a three-day hearing organised by the force which finished on 21 July. He was found to have breached the standards of professional behaviour for honesty and integrity.

His conduct came to light after video footage, which had been shared widely on social media, was sent anonymously to the MPS department for professional standards. Our investigation, which was completed in ten months, began on 8 January 2020 following a conduct referral from the force.

On 31 December 2019 officers stopped a car in Greenwich, detaining the occupants for a search. While being handcuffed, one of the occupants ran from the car.

Later, PC Powell arranged to meet the man who had run away to retrieve the handcuffs. After he had done so, PC Powell informed colleagues a car had driven past him, the handcuffs had been thrown out of the window, but the car did not stop.

However, video footage captured the encounter, which clearly showed PC Powell walking towards a car and a man placing his wrist out of the window. PC Powell then removed the handcuffs and gave the man a fist-bump.

IOPC Regional Director Sal Naseem recently said:

“It is of concern that a Metropolitan Police Service officer lied to colleagues about how he recovered the handcuffs.

“PC Powell’s actions have damaged the reputation of the MPS and eroded the public’s trust and confidence in the police. Anyone who behaves in such a way can have no place in policing.”

As part of our investigation we arrested and interviewed PC Powell, on suspicion of perverting the course of justice. We considered evidence including mobile phone records, police logs, numerous witness accounts plus we analysed officers’ body worn video footage. Criminal charges against PC Powell were considered but upon assessing the evidence we concluded a referral to the Crown Prosecution Service was not required.

The MPS agreed with us that PC Powell had a case to answer for gross misconduct. The officer will be placed on the barred list preventing him from future employment with the police service.