Policeman's duties unofficially restricted after being filmed striking handcuffed teenager with baton in Romford
PUBLISHED: 17:26 27 April 2019 | UPDATED: 12:06 28 April 2019
A police officer who was filmed striking a handcuffed 17-year-old boy with a baton in Romford has been unofficially prohibited from contacting the public while the case is independently investigated.
Footage showing a plain clothes police officer striking a teenager multiple times during a stop-and-search in Heath Park Road on Monday, April 22, went viral on social media this week.
The video begins part way through the incident, showing the boy in handcuffs and presenting no obvious threat to the officer.
The teenager can be heard yelling out “I am a child” and “this is illegal” as he is struck with the baton.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman initially confirmed on Saturday morning that the officer has been placed on “restricted duties” but later clarified that he “has not been subject to any formal disciplinary sanctions at this time”.
He said: “At this time, a decision has been taken locally to manage his duties - this includes restrictions to have no contact with the public.”
He added: “The matter sits with the Directorate of Professional Standards and Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) for a severity assessment.”
The Met announced its decision to refer the matter to the IOPC for investigation in a statement released on Friday.
A Met spokesman had previously said that police officers had been on patrol in Heath Park Road when they found reason to stop and search two teenagers under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
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The police said that after a struggle, a 17-year-old boy was detained by an officer and reportedly found in possession of Class B drugs.
He was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply and obstruction of a drugs search.
A second teenager, aged 14, was also arrested on suspicion of obstruction and assault of a police officer, and was also released under investigation.
Before the independent investigation was announced, the IOPC tweeted: “We've seen the video footage of an incident in Romford circulating on social media and understand why there is considerable public concern.
“The footage captures part of the incident but does raise questions about the officer's use of force.”
The investigation into the officer's conduct, and informal restriction of his duties, comes after an online petition calling for his suspension has gained more than 44,000 signatures.
Lee Jasper, former deputy mayor of London, wrote on Facebook: “As a former deputy mayor of London responsible for policing, I wish to make a formal complaint to the Metropolitan Police Service and Mayor of London about this wanton act of apparent police brutality.
“I am aware that a complaint can submitted through Twitter and wish to exercise my rights to do so now.
“You have no legitimacy in policing people like this and soon from now, I predict your officers will be routinely resisted, in some areas, as consequence of your utter failure to rein in officers such as this.”
EDITORS NOTE: A previous version of this article stated the officer in question had been formally placed on restricted duties. The Metropolitan Police have now clarified that his duties will be managed locally and he will have no contact with the public.