Cop who used police’s new tactic of ramming moped thug off road faces criminal probe

The 17-year-old, who was not wearing a helmet at the time, was taken to hospital with serious head injuries and fractures but was later discharged

A SCOTLAND Yard cop who used the police’s controversial new tactic of ramming a moped thug off the road is facing a criminal investigation.

The officer is being probed after carrying out a so-called “tactical combat” to deliberately stop a 17-year-old who was riding dangerously in Erith, south-east London, in November last year.

In the latest incident being investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) an officer and his colleagues have been interviewed as witnesses after a suspect was forced off his moped in Ealing, west London, earlier this year.

It comes after it was revealed that a police driver is under criminal investigation after using the previously approved tactic of deliberately knocking a fleeing suspect off his moped during a separate incident.

In this case the 17-year-old was forced off his moped by the officer in Erith, south east London, in January last year, in a tactic endorsed by the Metropolitan Police and the Home Secretary.

The teenager – who was not wearing a helmet and was taken to hospital by the same officer who had brought him down because no ambulance was available – was discharged a few days after being treated for a serious head injury and a broken foot.

He subsequently pleaded guilty to theft, interference with a vehicle, dangerous driving, and driving with no licence and no insurance.

The officer has been interviewed under caution as part of the IOPC investigation and his case could be referred to the Crown Prosecution Service within weeks. He could face criminal charges for actual bodily harm as a result.

A similar process could take place in the Ealing case, in which a suspect aged in his twenties was knocked off his moped in March after trying to flee the scene of an incident.

While the officers in questioned have only been interviewed as witnesses to the incident, the IOPC has warned they could still be questioned under caution and face charges.

“The officers have been interviewed as witnesses and have not been served notice they are under investigation. That may change, as it might on other cases” said an IOPC source.

The investigation of the officers involved in the two incidents – which comes after the Met Police Commissioner and the Home Secretary endorsed using what is referred to as ‘tactical contact’ to stop a fleeing suspect on a moped – has angered rank and file police officers and their supporters.

Ken Marsh, chairman of the Met Police Federation, said: “Senior ministers have endorsed this tactic, but they need to put their words into action and give police officers the protection they deserve when they use it, otherwise it is just hollow words.

“The public want this approach used and politicians tell them to do it, but it’s going to end up with my officers gripping the rail of the dock because they have stopped someone in this way.”

Retired police officer and campaigner Norman Brennan said: “Officers using this tactic are trained to the highest standards and the law should exonerate them as soon as an investigation has been completed. That investigation should also be carried out as quickly as possible because they put officers under intense stress merely for having carried out their duties.”

Tactical contact has been used at least 63 times since it was adopted by the Met in October last year and has left at least two suspects with broken bones.

Endorsing the tactic earlier this month, Met Commissioner Cressida Dick said pursuit drivers are “supremely well trained” and that the tactic has resulted in only a “very small” number of injuries.

She said: “My officers make life-and-death decisions every day of the week, they’re very accountable. They make the best possible decisions. We are in a risk business.”

Ms Dick said the freedom to ram scooters was brought in to deter moped crime.

“We’ve had to put the fear back into the criminal,” she said.

The IOPC said it was investigating whether the actions of police officers involved in the Erith operation were appropriate, given the circumstances they faced.

A spokesman for the IOPC added: “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.

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