G20 riot squad officer faces misconduct allegations

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A police riot squad officer who escaped prosecution over Ian Tomlinson's death during the G20 protests was served with gross misconduct allegations today.

Pc Simon Harwood will be accused of hitting the newspaper seller with his baton and pushing him to the ground in actions that "inadvertently caused or contributed" to his death on April 1 last year.

He will also be accused of using force that "was not necessary, proportionate or reasonable in the circumstances" and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is consulting on whether to hold the misconduct hearing in public.

Deborah Glass, IPCC deputy chairwoman and Commissioner for London, said: "From the moment the video was published to the world in April 2009, there has been an overwhelming public feeling that the officer seen to strike Ian Tomlinson should be held accountable for his actions.

"I have agreed with the Metropolitan Police Service that the officer should face an allegation of gross misconduct, in that he struck and pushed Ian Tomlinson on April 1 2009, such dangerous actions inadvertently causing or contributing to his death. The officer has today been served with the papers to allow the hearing to be held."

She went on: "Because of the gravity and exceptional circumstances of this case, I consider that it may be in the public interest for me to direct that the hearing be held in public.

"I have therefore begun the required process of consulting the necessary parties.

"These include the Tomlinson family, the officer himself, and any witnesses, before I make a decision.

"I am also consulting the coroner and the Director of Public Prosecutions, who I know also have an interest in this matter."

The allegations against Pc Harwood state:

:: That he struck Mr Tomlinson on his left thigh with his baton;

:: That he pushed Mr Tomlinson so he fell to the ground;

:: Such dangerous actions inadvertently caused or contributed to the death of Mr Tomlinson on April 1 2009;

:: The use of force was not necessary, proportionate or reasonable in the circumstances.

The Tomlinson family, the officer and 105 potential witnesses will all be consulted over whether the hearing should be held in public.

An IPCC spokeswoman added: "In addition, given the pending inquest, for which no date has yet been set, and the potential for a review at the end of it by the Crown Prosecution Service, the IPCC Commissioner is also seeking the views of the appointed coroner, Judge (Peter) Thornton QC, and the Director of Public Prosecutions."

No date has been set for the hearing, which will be presided over by two senior Metropolitan Police officers and an independent member of the public selected from a list appointed by the Metropolitan Police Authority.

Pc Harwood faces dismissal without notice if the allegations are proven, the Metropolitan Police said.

The disciplinary panel will be chaired by Deputy Assistant Commissioner Lynne Owens and the second senior officer will be Commander Julian Bennett.

A panel must usually hold the hearing within 30 days of papers being served on the officer, but this can be adjourned if necessary, a force spokesman said.

Around 1,500 pages were served on Mr Harwood this morning following a review of 14,000 documents.

The force spokesman added that the disciplinary proceedings so far had been "extremely complex with extensive legal consultation over the process and nature of the allegations".