Heath Park Road arrest: Police watchdog appeals for witnesses to come forward after viral video sparks investigation
PUBLISHED: 09:24 03 May 2019 | UPDATED: 09:24 03 May 2019
The independent police watchdog is asking anyone who witnessed the arrest of a 17-year-old in Romford to come forward after a viral video of the incident sparked an investigation into an officer's use of force.
On Thursday, May 2, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) confirmed it had sent investigators to Heath Park Road to find out more about the events that occured on Easter Monday at around 3pm.
Plain-clothed Metropolitan Police officers stopped and searched two teenagers – 14 years old and 17 years old respectively.
An IOPC spokesman said: “We understand the 14 year old was chased by an officer, while the other was handcuffed by the remaining officer.
“It was while handcuffed that the officer used his baton.”
Footage from a passerby captured the part of the incident in which the officer used their baton and this was then circulated widely on social media.
The IOPC has also confirmed an emergency call was made to 999 at the time of the incident raising concerns about the officer's use of force.
Another formal complaint was made the following day.
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THe spokesman continued: “Our investigators will be in the Heath Park Road area conducting house-to-house enquiries, handing out leaflets and speaking to members of the public to find potential eye witnesses.
“They will also be identifying any CCTV cameras that may have captured what happened.
“We have the details of a number of independent eye witnesses and will be speaking to them at the earliest opportunity.
“We have established that there is no police body-worn footage of the incident.”
The IOPC's interim regional director for London, Sal Naseem, stressed it was important that any independent investigation established the full facts of what happened that day, and did not rely solely on the video that was circulated so prominently on social media.
He continued: “Our investigation will look at the incident from start to finish – from the moment the teenagers were stopped through to their arrests and detention.
“We have a number of independent eye witnesses already but are keen to speak to anyone else who witnessed any or all of the incident.”
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