Officer Could Be Prosecuted for Taking Down Criminal After Police Applauded for Tough Approach to Moped Thieves

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 24: Police response vehicle seen near Oxford Circus underground station on November 24, 2017 in London, England. Police are responding to reports of an incident at London's Oxford Circus Tube station and have urged the public to avoid the area. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
Jack Taylor/Getty

A London Metropolitan police officer could be charged with a criminal offence after ramming a criminal moped driver.

The investigation is a result of the officer using “tactical contact” to stop a 17-year-old driving dangerously on a moped in Ealing in November 2017, authorities revealing the officer could face criminal proceedings on Tuesday, reports the BBC.

The youth was not wearing a helmet and was treated at a London hospital afterwards for a serious head injury and a broken foot, but was later discharged.

He later pleaded guilty to five charges in juvenile court including theft, dangerous driving, and driving without a licence.

Scotland Yard has said it refers all pursuits ending in injury to the police watchdog, the  Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

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

A spokesman from the policing watchdog said, “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.

“But it would be wrong to offer guarantees in every case. Independent scrutiny is a vital part of public confidence in the way policing is done.”

If there is a prosecution, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will have to decide whether to charge the officer with actual bodily harm or grievous bodily harm.

In addition, the Metropolitan Police may consider whether to bring a review of professional misconduct which could result in dismissal.

This is believed to be the first instance where an officer employing tactical contact is being reviewed by the IOPC, according to The Guardian, after the strategy was introduced by the force in October 2017 to deal with rising moped crimes, including acid attacks and muggings.

The use of the tactic by police was revealed to the public last month, and was broadly welcomed by Londoners for driving down moped crime.

However, Labour’s far-left shadow home secretary Diane Abbott attacked London police, saying, “Knocking people off bikes is potentially very dangerous. It shouldn’t be legal for anyone. Police are not above the law.”

In a rare display, Camden Police defended the Met getting tough on crime, replying, “Someone who’s responsible for law-making (or at least debating and ratifying new legislation) should probably realise that using tactical contact to terminate dangerous pursuits is entirely within our lawful power… And our responsibility.”

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