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Thousands sign petition calling for suspension of police officer after video of teenager's arrest in Romford goes viral

PUBLISHED: 17:00 26 April 2019 | UPDATED: 17:18 26 April 2019

Former deputy mayor of London, Lee Jasper, made a formal complaint about a 17-year-old's arrest in Heath Park Road, Romford on Monday, April 22. Picture: Press Association / Google Maps

Former deputy mayor of London, Lee Jasper, made a formal complaint about a 17-year-old's arrest in Heath Park Road, Romford on Monday, April 22. Picture: Press Association / Google Maps

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A petition to have a police officer suspended after footage of him arresting a 17-year-old went viral has gained more than 29,000 signatures.

Lee Jasper, a former deputy mayor of London was the director for policing and equalities in 2008. Picture: Paul Faith / PALee Jasper, a former deputy mayor of London was the director for policing and equalities in 2008. Picture: Paul Faith / PA

The Met had previously said that police officers were on patrol in Heath Park Road on Monday, April 22 when they found reason to stop and search two teenagers under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

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.

Footage showing a police officer hitting the 17-year-old with a baton has been circulating on social media this week.

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.”

A petition calling for the suspension of the police officer in the video has received more than 29,300 signatures within 24 hours.

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The Met confirmed on Thursday, April 25, that an internal review is being conducted.

A police spokeswoman said: “There has been no formal complaint made to us.

“However, we are aware of the footage and we will conduct our own review.”

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is also in talks with the Met to decide whether the incident will be referred to the IOPC.

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 law currently means the Met must make a decision on whether to refer the incident to us. We will clarify our position as soon as we can.”

Following his arrest the 17-year-old was released under investigation.

A second teenager, aged 14, was also arrested on Monday.

He was arrested on suspicion of obstruction and assault of a police officer, and was also released under investigation.

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