Six police officers who were caught on camera smashing the windows of a stolen car with baseball bats and a pick-axe handle – both unauthorised weapons – are to keep their jobs despite being found by a misconduct investigation to be guilty of discreditable conduct. One of the officers was demoted from detective sergeant to detective constable, but all will keep their jobs.
In the video the officers can be seen aggressively smashing the windows of a suspected stolen car before pulling the driver out and piling on top of him. The suspect was later found guilty of handling stolen goods.
Deborah Glass, a spokesperson for the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), said that the actions brought the police service into “disrepute”. She went on to say that members of the public do not expect to see police officers smashing up a car with a baseball bat, “Whatever the threat they claimed to experience, their actions should be proportionate and reasonable – which in this case they plainly weren’t.”
The Met misconduct panel found that the detective sergeant failed to properly manage those under his control by allowing them to use the unauthorised weapons to smash up the car. The other constables were all found to have acted using more force than was necessary for the situation.
The tape was found by investigators from the directorate of professional standards – the forces anti-corruption squad – while investigating allegations that the Enfield Crime Squad, of which the six officers were members, were misusing seized property. The investigation began in May 2008 and a total of 16 police officers were investigated over possible misuse of property. Prosecutors decided there was not enough evidence to charge any of those officers.
Speaking on the six officers, a spokesman for the Met said: “The behaviour displayed by the six officers that day was unacceptable and as such the board has rightly sanctioned them for it.”