Met Police officer sacked after using 'excessive force' in a stop and search

  • ITV London's Divya Kohli has the latest

A plain-clothed Met Police officer who used excessive force during the search of a man in west London has been sacked.

The independent policing panel (IOPC) found PC Martin Binala’s actions amounted to gross misconduct and he has been dismissed without notice.

A complaint was raised to the independent watchdog after a Polish national was stopped and searched in Southall in 2021.

Three non-uniformed officers said the man attracted their attention because he was sitting in his parked car in a crime hotspot area.

PC Binala & PC Dunne then claimed he could smell cannabis coming from the car, but no cannabis was found.

The man was pulled from the car, taken to the ground, handcuffed and used pepper spray in in his eyes.

The victim, in his twenties, needed hospital treatment for his injuries. Credit: PA

The disciplinary panel in Southwark heard he was handcuffed for 45 minutes and then arrested for obstructing police. He was later de-arrested.

The man told the IOPC, that he was scared for his life during the struggle with the officers as he thought he was about to be robbed and they had not identified themselves.

He resisted them and attempted to get away. PC Binala struck him several times. 

The victim, in his twenties, needed hospital treatment for his injuries.

Neither officer had given him first aid at the incident.

Alan Jenkins who was representing the Met Police, told the hearing the search had been "a botched operation" and that there had been a “comprehensive failure to follow the proper approach” regarding a stop and search.

IOPC regional director Charmaine Arbouin said: “It is not good practice for officers to carry out a stop and search on the sole ground of a smell of cannabis, yet this man was stopped for sitting in his parked car, close to his home.

“Body-worn video footage showed that, in just seven seconds, PC Binala got out of the unmarked police vehicle and began to forcibly remove the man from his car.

“There was no attempt to engage with him, identify themselves as officers, show warrant cards or go through the usual police procedures when stopping members of the public.

The independent policing panel (IOPC) found PC Martin Binala’s actions amounted to gross misconduct. Credit: PA

The man also complained about the clothing officers wore. The watchdog also found that they were inappropriately dressed.

Another officer at the hearing, PC Stuart Dunne, was given a written warning as the breaches were at a misconduct level.

A third officer will attend an internal misconduct meeting for his failure to wear suitable clothing.

They will also face allegations of failing to ensure they activated their body-worn video, not using an interpreter, and not making sufficient attempts to calm and reassure the man.

Charmaine Arbouin added: “It is not surprising that the man didn’t believe they were police officers and reacted in the way he did. He told our investigators he thought he was being robbed and feared for his safety.

“After taking the man to the ground, PC Dunne used PAVA spray twice without warning and PC Binala struck the man. Their use of force was unnecessary, unreasonable, and disproportionate.”

PC Binala has also been barred from working in policing in future.

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