Court finds in favour of IOPC and orders force to hold misconduct hearing
A court has ruled that a City of London Police officer must face a disciplinary hearing for using excessive force following a call by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
The High Court ruling on October 15 means that Police Constable Mark Alston could be disciplined for allegedly striking Alfie Meadows, then aged 20, at a 2010 tuition fees protest.
Mr Meadows, then a student at Middlesex University, was allegedly struck over the head with a baton and suffered a brain injury which needed emergency surgery to save his life.
He was one of around 10,000 people protesting in Parliament Square on December 9, 2010, the same day that Parliament passed a Bill to increase university tuitions fees to £9,000 per year. Previous protests against the proposals had seen widespread disorder.
Mr Meadows was found not guilty of violent disorder at a retrial the following year.
The City of London Police’s legal team had argued in court that the case against PC Alston was ‘hopeless’ and that the IOPC had exceeded its role and was damaging public confidence in the police by insisting officers face gross misconduct hearings.
The IOPC had countered that it was the role of disciplinary panels and not itself to determine if a case had merit or not, and the judges, Mr Justice Garnham and Lady Justice Sharp, ruled in favour of the IOPC.
A spokesperson for the City of London Police said that the force would comply with its statutory duty and put PC Alston before a disciplinary hearing.
An IOPC spokesperson told Police Professional: “It will now be a matter for a panel to determine whether or not the case is proven.”