West Midlands Police custody sergeant convicted of assault

28 Oct 2019 12:39 PM

A West Midlands Police custody sergeant was recently (Friday, 25 October) convicted of assaulting a detainee who was punched in the face while on the floor.

Following a three-day trial at Birmingham Magistrates Court a deputy district judge found PS Nathan Legend guilty of two counts of assault by beating arising from the same incident at the Perry Barr custody unit, and imposed a sentence of 150 hours community service. The officer had denied the charges. It follows our investigation of the officer’s use of force against a man who was detained there on 22 December last year (2018).

The court was told that PS Legend initially put the man in a rear headlock when he became verbally uncooperative while being booked into custody. After the man was taken to the floor and restrained, with the help of other officers, PS Legend struck him several times in the face. He then placed his foot on the man’s head for around 30 seconds after he had been rolled over on to his front and was handcuffed to the rear.

Shortly after being put in a cell the officer used a leg sweep to take the now handcuffed man to the floor, where he hit and injured his head.

IOPC Regional Director for the West Midlands, Derrick Campbell, recently said:

“While there are occasions when the use of force is required, police officers are entrusted with the power to do so only if it is reasonable and proportionate in the circumstances.

"Our investigation raised serious concerns about PS Legend’s actions and the CPS made the decision to bring charges after we referred a file to them.

“The court has clearly taken the view that the officer, whose role involves ensuring the welfare of detainees, went beyond what was necessary to ensure control of the man in a custody environment.”

We began our investigation into PS Legend’s conduct following a referral from West Midlands Police. On completion in June, the force agreed that he had a case to answer for gross misconduct for a breach of the Standards of Professional Behaviour. Steps will now be taken to progress disciplinary proceedings with the force.

During our investigation we reviewed custody CCTV footage and records, took witness statements from officers and staff who were present, and studied the relevant national and local police policies and guidelines.