West Mids Police Refers Itself To Watchdog Over "Shocking" Video

12 March 2019, 08:26 | Updated: 12 March 2019, 08:28

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West Mids Police has referred itself to the police standards watchdog over a "really shocking" viral video showing a man being restrained by five uniformed officers.

Footage posted on social media showed a man being struck at least seven times on or about the head by an officer from the force.

The male officer has an object in his right hand which appears to be Pava incapacitant spray, which discharges into the room as his hand comes down on the man.

The footage, recorded by a third party, is cut short when another male officer turns and closes the door on the camera.

In a statement on Monday, West Mids Police said it had referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) over the video, saying it has "generated concern across communities".

The force said the video showed "edited footage" but does not show the man "attack the officers with his walking sticks, injuring three of them".

The statement said: "On 25 February officers were called by a doctor who was conducting a mental health assessment in Sandwell.

"During the assessment, the 38-year-old man became violent and assaulted the doctor with a metal crutch, so police were called.

"The video circulating on social media shows edited footage of officers who attended but does not show the events which lead up to his restraint.

"The full body-worn video of the response shows the man attack the officers with his walking sticks, injuring three of them.

"The man was arrested on suspicion of assault and taken into custody. He was medically examined while in custody and he had not received any injuries. He is currently receiving treatment in a mental health facility.

"Three officers sustained various injuries to their arms, heads, face and hands while two officers were treated for the effects of the incapacitant spray. The doctor sustained a minor arm injury."

The force confirmed incapacitant spray was used and said a full review would determine whether the use of force was proportionate.

Head of professional standards at West Midlands Police, chief superintendent Chris Todd, said: "We do not underestimate the impact this video has on the public's confidence in policing.

"On first view, the video is really shocking and we need to understand the full context of what the officers were facing."