Met Police officer being investigated after mother wrongly arrested for bus fare evasion

Commenting in response Caroline Pidgeon AM said:


“The revelations in yesterday’s report were truly abhorrent and I am grateful for the work Baroness Casey has done to shine a light on the institutional problems within the Met.


“To learn several hundred officers are potentially facing dismissal really highlights just how widespread the rot within the force has become and pours cold water on the notion by some that this is only about a ‘few bad apples’.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said a complaint had been made accusing police of racially profiling the woman, who is black (stock image) Credit: ITV News

A police officer is under criminal investigation for alleged racially aggravated assault and false imprisonment after a woman was wrongly arrested for bus fare evasion in front of her young son.

Watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) announced the investigation for potential gross misconduct by the Metropolitan Police constable after the incident in Croydon, south London, in July.

The woman’s arrest in Whitehorse Road, Croydon, south London, on July 21 prompted criticism after footage was posted on social media of her shouting as she was handcuffed as her tearful son watched on.

She was later de-arrested when it was confirmed that she had paid the fare.

A family member complained to the IOPC, claiming the woman had been racially and verbally abused by an officer Credit: PA

IOPC regional director Mel Palmer said: “The decision to conduct a criminal investigation is not something we take lightly and was made after careful consideration of the material we have gathered to date, including liaison with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

“It’s important to emphasise that this development does not necessarily mean that criminal charges or disciplinary proceedings will follow.

“At the conclusion of the investigation, we will decide whether to refer a file of evidence to the CPS for a charging decision and also decide whether any officers should face disciplinary proceedings.

“Representatives for the woman and the officer have been advised of this update and we will keep them informed throughout our investigation.”

A family member complained to the IOPC, claiming the woman had been racially profiled and verbally abused by an officer, and the woman herself has also complained about the way that she and her son were treated.

The watchdog is investigating the decision to arrest her, whether the force used was proportionate, whether the woman and her son were treated differently because they are black, and whether the woman was treated differently because of her sex.

Whitehorse Road in Croydon Credit: Google Street View

Chief Superintendent Andy Brittain, who leads policing in Croydon, said: “This incident caused a great deal of concern in the community when it happened and when a video showing part of the events was shared on social media.

“The incident was clearly distressing for the woman involved and particularly her child.”

A PCSO attempted to comfort the little boy while the officers arrested his mother.

Mr Brittain added: “As the IOPC has stated, the launching of a criminal or misconduct investigation is not in itself a finding of wrongdoing and we await its conclusions after all the available evidence has been gathered and fully examined.”

The officer under investigation is on restricted duties.

Witnesses are urged to contact the investigation team at whitehorseroad@policeconduct. or 0300 303 5731.

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