The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is launching an investigation into an incident in East London where Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) officers were involved in the Tasering of a man and the shooting of two dogs.
This follows the voluntary referral by the MPS of two public complaints it had received in connection with the incident.
On 7 May, police officers responded to reports of a woman being attacked by a dog on Commercial Road in Poplar.
A man, later identified as Louie Turnbull, 46, of no fixed address, was found in possession of two dogs at the scene.
Despite efforts to bring the dogs under control, footage filmed by members of the public appears to show Turnbull not complying with the officer’s demands, instead keeping his dog’s attention focused on the officers who were trying to talk sense to him.
Turnbull was subsequently arrested, and during the process, a police Taser was discharged.
He was taken into custody and charged with two offences: being the person/owner of a dog that was dangerously out of control (with injury) and being in possession/custody of a dog whilst disqualified from owning or keeping a dog.
Appearing at Thames Magistrates’ Court on 9 May, he pleaded not guilty to the first offence and guilty to the second.
The woman suffered a leg injury during the initial dog attack and did not require hospital treatment. Witnesses lodged two complaints, prompting an internal review by the MPS.
Upon review, the Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) within the MPS concluded that the officers acted appropriately, given the circumstances.
However, the MPS voluntarily referred the two public complaints to the IOPC on 10 May. The IOPC has now taken over the investigation into the complaints.
Amanda Rowe, IOPC regional director, stated:
“We understand the public concern regarding this incident, and it is appropriate that it should be independently investigated.
“We will examine whether the actions of the officers involved were reasonable and proportionate in all of the circumstances and in line with relevant policy and procedure.”
Turnbull is expected to reappear in court for his next hearing at Snaresbrook Crown Court on 6 June.
Meanwhile, the officers involved in the incident have been informed of the IOPC’s investigation and remain on operational duties.
The case is a sobering reminder of the complex situations police officers often face and the scrutiny that follows their split-second decisions.
The IOPC’s conclusion will no doubt be eagerly awaited by all parties involved.
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