PC Edwin Sutton faced the sack from the Met after he was accused of breaching professional standards by using a ‘dangerous’ method to stop a suspected moped mugger in 2017. But the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has finally cleared PC Sutton of any wrongdoing.
PC Sutton took action when he saw a suspected handbag thief escaping the scene of the crime on a moped – and employed tactical contact to stop the rider in his tracks. The moped rider was hurt and admitted to hospital with leg injuries. But following a two year investigation, the Independent Office for Police Conduct has cleared PC Sutton of any wrongdoing and admitted he was ‘taking his duties seriously when he decided to take some action’.
As part of a crackdown on moped-enabled crime, the use of ‘tactical contact’ has been advocated by the Met Police. Previously officers feared being jailed or sacked if moped riders were injured during high-speed chases – and they’d also have to stop pursuing suspects if they removed their helmets. But that’s no longer the case – and as a result of the new approved tactics, moped-enabled crime has plummeted. In fact, police say from January to October in 2017 there were 19,455 moped-enabled offences across London, while from January to October last year there were 12,419 offences.
And yet, PC Sutton’s decision to make a ‘pre-emptive stop’ was described by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) was ‘disproportionate and unreasonable in the circumstances’ and constituted gross misconduct. Admittedly, the tribunal rejected this statement, ruling that PC Sutton’s ‘decision to block the rider was a reasonable one’ because he had spotted the bag and ‘formed the not unreasonable decision that it may have been part of a crime’.
Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said: “He was thrown to the wolves. The case sums up exactly what is wrong with the IOPC.”