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Lack of proper procedure results in wrongdoing by the Met

Background

In November 2022, Mr Z was driving his vehicle when he was stopped by an unmarked vehicle. As the vehicle was unmarked, Mr Z didn’t know that the two people in the vehicle were officers and to make matters more unclear, the individuals were also in plain clothes. There was nothing therefore to suggest that the officers were in fact officers. Once both vehicles had stopped, the individuals (later known to be officers) approached Mr Z and proceeded to shout at him to get out of the vehicle. Given the time of night and the officers showing no sign of being police officers, Mr Z feared for his safety and so remained in his car. Mr Z did, however, roll down his window to try and speak to the officers and clarify what was wrong. Mr Z was then informed that he was being detained under S.1 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. Mr Z, whilst sitting in his car had moved his steering wheel lock which officers claimed caused them to fear for their safety, this was in spite of Mr Z informing the officers that it was a steering wheel lock and to “relax”.

In efforts to de-escalate the situation, Mr Z proceeded to get out of the vehicle and comply with the officer’s request telling the officers to “move” as he did so. In response, one of the officers told Mr Z “don’t fucking tell me what to do”. As Mr Z proceeded to exit his vehicle, the officers then claimed that Mr Z had hit one of the officers with his car door. The footage available of the incident later showed no contact between the door and the officer. Once Mr Z had exited the vehicle, his phone could be seen in his right hand and as Mr Z put this hand in his pocket, officers again mistook this as Mr Z having a weapon. As a result of the perception that Mr Z had such ‘weapons’ and by him exiting his vehicle in the manner that he did, one of the officers, in belief that Mr Z was going to attack him (despite Mr Z showing no violence), pre-emptively punched Mr Z in the face, struck him in his kidney area and threw him to the floor. Mr Z was then placed in handcuffs and informed that he was under arrest for assaulting a PC (through hitting an officer with a car door). Following this, Mr Z was escorted to a nearby police station where he was interviewed and thereafter released on bail. Mr Z remained on bail until January of the following year where he was informed that he faced no further action.

Mr Z, aggrieved by his experience with the Metropolitan Police, submitted a complaint, much of it however was not upheld. The complaints handler did nevertheless concede that it could be argued, “if PC X were to have taken the opportunity to proceed with full GOWISELY at the start of the interaction, the situation may have concluded differently with a search taking place safely and Mr Z knowing the officers’ details and grounds for the stop”. Shocked that the complaint was not upheld in its entirety, Miss Jenkins submitted an appeal on behalf of Mr Z of which the outcome remains outstanding.

Representation

After experiencing the above, Mr Z approached specialist Actions Against the Police Solicitors, Irvings Law, for assistance. Miss Jenkins immediately acknowledged that Mr Z had suffered a wrongdoing at the hands of the Metropolitan Police. Miss Jenkins therefore submitted a letter of claim setting out each wrongdoing and in return received an offer from the Force.

Outcome

Upon receipt of the claim, the Metropolitan Police knew that they had to settle it and after negotiation it was so for the sum of £8,200.00 plus legal costs.

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