A police officer could be facing criminal charges, after knocking a teenager off a moped while carrying out the Met’s new ramming tactics.
An investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) was launched after the ‘crash’ in Eastern Way, Erith, at about 02:15 GMT on 7 November last year. The officer carried out the ‘tactical contact’ to stop a 17-year-old boy from riding dangerously. The rider (who was not wearing a helmet) was admitted to hospital with serious head injuries as a result of the police manoeuvre – but was later discharged. And now, a decision is due over whether evidence gathered by the police watchdog should be passed onto prosecutors.
The tactic has been used 60 times since January by the Met in its fight against moped crime – and so far there’s been three injuries following pursuits by officers, although not all were due to tactical contact. The Met said it had self-referred all instances to the IOPC.
An IOPC spokesman 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 he is prosecuted, the officer could be charged with actual bodily harm or grievous bodily harm. And the Met could also decide if there is a case to answer for misconduct, which could eventually result in dismissal.
The boy later pleaded guilty to five offences at youth court, including theft, dangerous driving, and driving without a licence.
The tactic of highly-trained police officers using their vehicles to knock ‘moped’ thieves off their bikes has proved controversial. But senior officers, including the Met’s commissioner Cressida Dick, have defended the use of tactical contact, saying it was needed to stop dangerous chases and has helped reduce moped crime in London by more than a third. The tactic has also been backed by Prime Minister Theresa May, who said a “robust” response was needed from police to what she described as a growing problem of people using mopeds to commit crimes such as bag and phone-snatching.
IF YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE MET’S NEW TACTICS, CHECK OUT THE LINKS BELOW.