Officer’s use of force ‘not proportionate’

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has found that a close protection officer used “disproportionate” force on a photojournalist at a Labour Party rally the day before last year’s general election. 

Nov 21, 2018
By Neil Root

Police Constable Mark Dawson of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) Royalty and Specialist Protection Command restrained the photographer on the ground as a media throng attempted to get close to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn when he left the stage. 

 A complaint was received by the MPS from the photographer, who suffered minor physical injuries and damage to his camera, and the force voluntarily referred the case to the IOPC. 

PC Dawson has been found to have breached the standards of professional behaviour and given a final written warning after an MPS misconduct hearing on Tuesday (November 20). 

The IOPC investigation analysed still photographs and video footage of the incident in Colwyn Bay on June 7 and witness accounts from journalists, stewards and police officers. It concluded in November 2017, and the MPS agreed with the IOPC that PC Dawson should face a misconduct hearing, although the Crown Prosecution Service made the decision not to proceed with criminal charges. 

Jonathan Green, IOPC regional director, said: “This police interaction with a member of the press occurred in public view at a large event, and it was important for public confidence that we independently investigate the matter.  

“It took place in a pressured environment the day before the general election, when the threat to any party political event would be considered high. 

“Police use of force must be proportionate, necessary and reasonable and the individual officer must be able to justify it. 

“Our investigation concluded the officer’s actions could be considered disproportionate, and the MPS agreed. A panel has now ruled that PC Dawson was in breach of professional standards and he has been given a final written warning.” 

 

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