Wednesday 5 December 2018

Police driver faces criminal charges after ramming moped.

The following is an excerpt from an article in the Guardian newspaper concerning the new police tactic of knocking fleeing criminals off their mopeds.

A Metropolitan police driver is under criminal investigation after using a special tactic to deliberately knock a fleeing suspect off a moped.

The teenager, aged 17 at the time, suffered head injuries and a broken foot as he fled from police, he was not wearing a helmet and later pleaded guilty to several offences.

The officer is believed to be the only one so far to face criminal investigation after using the controversial “tactical contact” measure, whereby police in cars knock a suspect off their moped or scooter, so they can be arrested.

The Met adopted the tactic in October 2017 as it tried to quell a wave of robberies carried out by suspects on mopeds. The incident subject to criminal investigation happened a month later and is one of two where suspects suffered serious injury.

The prime minister and home secretary have supported the tactic, but others such as the shadow home secretary, Diane Abbott, have expressed concern.

The police officer has been interviewed under caution as part of an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IPOC). The watchdog said it would decide within weeks whether the officer should be referred to the Crown Prosecution Service to face criminal charges, for an offence such as actual bodily harm.

As well as a criminal investigation, the officer has been told he faces a disciplinary investigation for potential gross misconduct.

The police who had been giving chase had to take him to hospital because the London ambulance service did not have a vehicle available

The teenager was not wearing a helmet and the IOPC said he suffered serious head injuries and fractures but was discharged from hospital a few days later.

The IOPC said its investigation was “looking at the circumstances around the authorisation and use of the tactical contact”.

The teenager was charged and later appeared at a youth court where he pleaded guilty to attempted theft, interference with a vehicle, driving with no licence, driving with no insurance, and dangerous driving. Because of his age he cannot be named.

When the Met released footage a fortnight ago of its drivers knocking suspects off mopeds, it said it had used tactical contact 63 times. It also said the tactic would only be used by specialist officers called “scorpion” drivers.

It is the second tactical contact incident being investigated by the IOPC. Another took place on 27 March this year in Ealing, west London, where a suspect in his 20s suffered a broken leg after a police car knocked him off his moped. The IOPC said the investigation was continuing, with no warning notices served, meaning officers are being treated as witnesses.

The IOPC said it had a duty to investigate cases where suspects were injured after being knocked off their mopeds by police. “Ultimately no police tactic can ever be used with impunity in a country where we police by consent – be that tactical contact, the use of firearms or the use of restraint. It is always a matter of whether it’s reasonable and proportionate in the circumstances,” it said.

So, to sum up a young person can commit a violent robbery armed with a machete and escape on a moped swerving through the traffic and on the pavement endangering the lives of members of the public but the Shadow Home Secretary has expressed concerns over the police tactic of knocking the escaping suspect off their mopeds.

The IOPC said it had a duty to investigate cases where suspects were injured after being knocked off their mopeds by police. “Ultimately no police tactic can ever be used with impunity in a country where we police by consent.

I don’t know about consent, would they prefer the police walked in front of the fleeing felon and asked them nicely, “would you mind stopping young man, if it’s not too much trouble?”

Unfortunately, we no longer live in the age of Dixon of Dock Green who could tackle an armed intruder with a small wooden truncheon by uttering the phrase, “come on lad hand it over.” Whereupon the young thug would respond, “okay guv, it’s a fair cop.”

One doesn’t wish to be too controversial but if I had just been threatened and robbed by a youth wielding a machete, I would have no problem with the police knocking them off their moped to stop them fleeing the scene and I rather suspect that if Diane Abbot had actually experienced a similar violent attack she might also change her views on the matter.

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