West Mercia Police officer 'used excessive force'

A police officer has been given a final warning after holding a 65-year-old man in an arm lock and pressing him on to a car bonnet.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) also criticised the Police Federation which it said had encouraged the officer to not co-operate with the inquiry.

The warnings stem from an incident in Shrewsbury in 2011.

West Mercia Police said it had apologised to the man involved.

The complainant had been at a boxing match when trouble broke out inside the venue.

'Management advice'

As he waited outside with his grandchildren, a police car pulled up to him and the man made a comment about a police officer's driving.

PC Kevin Payne then grabbed the man and put him in an arm lock but did not arrest him.

The man complained and PC Payne was given management advice about his swearing.

The man then made an appeal to the IPCC, which was upheld.

The IPCC said the force should reinvestigate, recommending PC Payne be issued with a notice for gross misconduct.

During the second investigation the officer, on the advice of the Police Federation, refused to be interviewed, the IPCC said. The complaint was rejected by the force.

Another appeal by the victim was again upheld by the IPCC, which resulted in a second hearing by West Mercia Police and the finding of gross misconduct and a final written warning issued.

'Considerable pain'

Derrick Campbell, IPCC commissioner for West Mercia, said it was disappointing the man was forced to go through the police complaints process twice when it should have been dealt with by West Mercia the first time round.

He said it was disappointing to know the Police Federation felt it was acceptable practice to encourage public servants to not cooperate fully with IPCC investigations.

"The behaviour of the officer in this case fell well below that expected of police officers and resulted in a 65-year-old man receiving injuries that have caused him considerable pain and discomfort," he said.

West Mercia Assistant Chief Constable Gareth Morgan said the force acknowledged the matter took too long to be resolved.

He said: "Once investigated, the allegations against the officer were subject to a misconduct hearing, at which a finding of gross misconduct was found.

"As the chair of the hearing, following its conclusion, I personally met with the complainant and his family to apologise for the way he had been treated by our officer and his subsequent experience of the complaints process."

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