Panel finds officer who tried to use his police car and public vehicles stuck in traffic to box in a moped did not breach police professional standards

9 May 2019 12:04 PM

A disciplinary panel has found a Metropolitan Police (MPS) officer who tried to use his police car and vehicles stuck in traffic to box in a moped, knocking the rider off in the process, did not breach police professional standards.

PC Edwin Sutton faced a misconduct hearing which began on 7 May and concluded on 8 May, 2019 following an Independent Office for Police Conduct investigation.

IOPC Regional Director Sal Naseem yesterday said:

“While there is public concern about moped enabled crime and what tactics and protections are available to officers to respond to such incidents, it is important to draw the distinction between tactical contact and the manoeuvre used by the officer in this case. Our finding of a case to answer was in part based on his stated intention to ‘box in’ the moped and how his training said it should be done.

“When evaluating the findings we decided that a tribunal, when presented with the evidence, could conclude that PC Sutton had breached police professional standards when carrying out the manoeuvre. That is the test we must apply. As is its role, that tribunal has tested the evidence and today concluded that his actions did not amount to gross misconduct.”

On 21 May 2017, at about 5pm on the A406 north circular road, a marked police car driven by PC Sutton collided with a moped ridden by a 17-year-old boy. Our investigation concluded in October 2017.

Evidence showed PC Sutton moved out of his lane of near stationary traffic and accelerated, though still at a slow speed, into the path of the moped which collided with the car. An ambulance was called and the boy was taken to hospital with a broken leg. The boy was not arrested or charged with any offence.

PC Sutton stated he had heard reports of moped-related crimes in the area and that when he saw some moped riders, he decided to carry out a boxing in manoeuvre in order to stop them.

As part of our investigation we examined the officer’s training record and the relevant local and national policies on conducting manoeuvres to deal with suspected offenders on mopeds. This included guidance on the use of boxing in, which state that at least two police vehicles are required to carry out this tactic.

We collected video footage recorded by the police car’s front facing camera and other in car data.

In October 2017, as the IOPC predecessor the Independent Police Complaints Commission, we passed a file to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) which decided in May 2018 to take no further action. We directed the MPS to hold a misconduct hearing in March 2018.