IOPC Finds Officers Were Not ‘Rude’ And Did Not Use Excessive Force; But That They Failed To Keep A Suspect Warm

The police watchdog has issued a report into several Thames Valley Police officers who were subjected to an IOPC investigation after a dangerous driver alleged that they had used ‘excessive force’ had been ‘rude’ and that they did not keep a suspect warm. 

At around 1.40 am on 29 December 2018, Thames Valley Police officers in a marked police car identified that a vehicle was speeding in the area of Didcot, Oxfordshire. 

Police signalled for the vehicle to stop by activating their blue lights and sirens; however, the car made off dangerously and at considerable speed. 

Suitably trained Police officers pursued the vehicle through residential and commercial areas and along the A34. 

The vehicle exited the A34 and crashed into a roundabout. 

Both the driver and passenger of the vehicle sustained broken backs in the collision.

The IOPC found that the actions of the officers – in pursuing the vehicle – were justified given the circumstances.

Following the incident, a male occupant of the suspect vehicle made a complaint against officers who were at the scene alleging that they had used excessive force to detain him and that they had been ‘rude’. 

He also complained that the officers had ‘kept him in the cold’.

The IOPC found that there was no evidence to suggest that the officers had indeed been rude or that they had used excessive force. 

But the IOPC did conclude that the officers did not keep the suspect warm enough. 

In a statement, a spokesperson for the IOPC said:

‘One of the officers stated that the man was given a first-aid ‘space’ blanket. 

‘Officers did not provide the man with warm clothing or moved him to a vehicle to stay warm before then.

‘Based on the evidence available, we did not uphold the man’s complaints that officers used excessive force on him, or that an officer had been rude to him.

‘However, we upheld the man’s complaint that he had been treated harshly and incorrectly by officers and kept in the cold.

‘Although we did not identify any particular guideline which says that arresting officers must ensure that detainees are kept warm or comfortable, we were of the view that both officers would benefit from being reminded of their responsibility to look after the health and welfare of their detainees. 

‘We completed our investigation in July 2019.

‘After reviewing our report, the force agreed’.

The IOPC later apologised for the wording of the report after it received a wave of negative feedback on social media. 

In a tweet, a spokesperson for the IOPC said:

‘Police officers do a really difficult job, and we are sorry if this was poorly worded. 

‘Following your feedback, we will take another look at this on Monday’.

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