Hatfield dad's anger at 10 month delay to police conduct investigation
- Credit: Archant
The police complaints watchdog is being asked to explain why it has taken almost a year to respond to an alleged incident of racially-motivated force in Hatfield.
The IOPC (Independent Office for Police Conduct) were called in to investigate after a 16-year-old mixed race boy said police pinned him to the ground and threatened to “f**king smash his face in” during what it is claimed was a racially motivated attack.
The boy's mother, Lisa Kingston, who lives in Hatfield, said there was no reason for him to be chased by police and threatened with violence.
She has the whole incident on camera after a nearby WiFi salesman videoed the arrest on his mobile phone.
The woman says that her son was chased and forced to the ground on Stockbridge Road, Hatfield, by a Herts police officer who put his foot on the 16-year-old’s neck, pinning him in place.
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In the video, which featured in national media after the WHT broke the story last July, the officer says: “Let go of my hand or I will f**king smash your face in, do you understand?!”
The boy begs a member of the public to stay with him as he is threatened with pepper spray and continually shouted at while being held down on the pavement.
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He was then taken into custody and strip-searched, where he was found to have nothing on him. He was released without charge.
The former Onslow St Audrey’s student complained of backache to the custody staff as he has a history of scoliosis, which was treated by Great Ormond Street Hospital when he was a child.
Lisa added: “I do believe this was a racist attack. He is covered in bruises."
Contacted for a comment at the time of the incident, a spokesperson for Herts police said: “The original incident occurred when uniformed officers on patrol saw a male acting suspiciously on Tuesday, July 14.
"The male made off then was pursued and an arrest was made.
“A 16-year-old was arrested on suspicion of drug possession with intent to supply and assaulting a police officer with intent to resist arrest. He was released under investigation."
The officer involved in the incident has continued serving with the force despite being referred to the IOPC, the body for monitoring misconduct.
The IOPC told the victim's dad Roland Wilkerson the delays were due to investigating officers being on paternity leave, additional lines of enquiry having to be investigated, and work on assessing, summarising and analysing all of the evidence before structuring their final report.
Roland said: "I do not understand why it has taken since July to investigate this.
"We have given the IOPC all the information they could be possibly need. They have all footage including it all there on camera.
"Surely it is obviously a disciplinary matter - why is this man still working?!
"They keep contacting me with excuses and moving the date back saying things like 'it is not just a case of watching the footage' and referring to one employee on paternity leave. Surely he is not the only person to sort this and paternity leave is a planned event!! It's just ridiculous!
"We are so angry and frustrated!"
An IOPC spokesperson said: "We have apologised to the family for the length of time this investigation has taken, which was longer than we anticipated – but some delays have been outside our control.
"Following additional complaints in October and December our investigation was expanded to include some of them, while others required further extensive enquiries before we informed the complainants that those matters should be investigated by Hertfordshire Constabulary.
"Where allegations of discrimination have been made, it is important that the IOPC conducts an in depth and thorough independent investigation to establish the facts.
"Our investigation concluded in April 2021. We are now finalising our investigation report, which once completed, will go through the appropriate processes including receiving the force’s response to the report’s conclusions.
"We will continue to keep the complainants and the force updated."