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Statement following conclusion of IOPC investigation into incident in Poplar

News   •   Aug 11, 2020 11:30 BST

An investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct into an incident in Poplar last July has concluded that no officer has a case to answer for misconduct.

A male police constable based at Central East has taken part in a reflective practice review to reflect on what happened and how he might have handled the incident better to prevent it escalating.

The Met made a mandatory referral to the IOPC following the incident on Tuesday, 9 July 2019 in Abbott Road, Poplar. Officers attempted to speak with a 38-year-old man about his car which was obstructing the highway and other motorists. It was displaying a disabled badge.

The officers’ body worn video showed the man was asked to move his car and present his driving licence several times but refused. As officers tried to arrest him he resisted. He was then arrested on suspicion of obstruction of the highway, assaulting police and resisting arrest.

During the incident he became unwell – additional officers quickly attended to assist, gave first aid and called an ambulance.

The IOPC investigation found the man appeared to have a seizure, with evidence suggesting some of the initial officers were unsure it was genuine. This did not impact on the care given to the man and the IOPC gave no individual learning to any officer on this matter.

Two officers sustained minor injuries during the incident. The man was taken to hospital for treatment as a precaution.

As part of the IOPC’s investigation, an officer was interviewed under criminal caution and the matter referred to the Crown Prosecution Service. No charges were brought against him.

That officer has since taken part in a reflective practice review which is a formal process in legislation and consists of a fact-finding stage and a discussion stage, followed by a development report being produced to carry forward learning.

The man arrested during the incident was released under investigation and the matter subsequently referred to the Crown Prosecution Service. The CPS did not bring any charges against him.

Commander Paul Betts, Directorate of Professional Standards, said: “We welcome independent scrutiny and fully supported the IOPC investigation; the general public must have confidence in how we police. We acknowledge the IOPC found no case to answer for misconduct and have taken forward the reflective practice review for our officer. The officers in this matter were dealing with a difficult situation with a man who had resisted arrest, but as a force we want to learn and improve for the future.

“We are also aware of the IOPC’s recommendation around additional training for officers when dealing with potential medical emergencies. All officers are trained in first aid and know they have a duty of care to assist anyone taken unwell; they do this day in and day out in London. We teach that all officers involved in an incident have a responsibility to continually assess a detainee’s condition, particularly if they have been restrained.

“However, we are always keen to learn and develop and will implement any further training recommended by the National Police Chief’s Council or the College of Policing.”