West Yorkshire Police officer involved in 'lesbian nana' arrest video told to 'reflect' by IOPC

'lesbian nana' video police officer
The officer was told to 'reflect and learn from the incident to prevent any issues identified from re-occurring'. Credit: Tiktok

A police officer involved in the arrest of an autistic girl who said she looked like "her lesbian nana" has been told to "reflect" after a video of the incident went viral on social media.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) launched an investigation into the officer's conduct after claims she was heavy-handed during the incident in August 2023.

West Yorkshire Police said the 16-year-old girl had been taken home after reports she was drunk and at risk in Leeds city centre.

A video uploaded to Tiktok by her mother showed the girl being detained by seven officers outside her house.

A caption on the video said: "This is what police do when dealing with autistic children."

At the time the mother said the situation escalated after her daughter referred to the officer as resembling her "lesbian nana".

The video was widely shared on social media, attracting criticism of the way the incident was handled.

The IOPC said it had examined the officer’s "actions and interactions with the girl on the night to determine whether they were appropriate and proportionate".

It said: "The evidence suggested a potentially homophobic comment was made by the girl, which the officer believed was directed towards her.

"The evidence identified that the comment made was not as was reported on the short clip which appeared on social media. As a result, the officer took the decision to arrest the girl in relation to this offence."

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'Reflective practice'

The watchdog said attempts were made to "de-escalate the situation" and the level of force used "appeared to have been appropriate".

"However, we did find that some of the language used by one of the officers towards the girl was inappropriate and was not conducive to de-escalating the situation," it added.

The IOPC said the officer did not have a case to answer for misconduct.

But it added: "We decided that it would be appropriate for the officer to undertake reflective practice – to reflect and learn from the incident to prevent any issues identified from re-occurring, as their actions fell short of the expectations of the public and the police service as set out in the code of ethics."

IOPC regional director Emily Barry said: "We understand the video that was circulated at the time attracted considerable public concern and that is why it was important that the circumstances of this incident were subject to an independent investigation so we could fully understand what happened and impartially determine the facts.

"Our investigation looked at the whole picture of the incident and we decided the officer should now work with their supervisor to reflect, learn and improve from what occurred, to prevent this from happening again.

"We also felt that a letter of apology should be sent to the girl and the family in attempt to remedy any dissatisfaction. The force agreed with this suggestion and have written to the family."

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