The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has announced that a West Midlands Police sergeant, who was accused of disrespectfully removing a Sikh man’s religious head covering, a Patka, during an arrest in October 2021, has been exonerated of all gross misconduct allegations.
The complaint originated from the man detained at the Perry Barr custody suite in Birmingham, who contended that the sergeant’s actions had caused him trauma and amounted to racial discrimination.
The incident incited significant local unrest and prompted hundreds of protestors to gather outside the Perry Barr custody suite.
After an investigation, the IOPC decided there was a case for the sergeant to answer.
“We carried out a thorough investigation and from the evidence gathered it was our opinion that for one officer there was a case to answer for gross misconduct,” stated IOPC Regional Director for the West Midlands, Derrick Campbell.
The charged officer stood before an independent panel in a two-day hearing.
Despite the high degree of media attention, the panel ruled that the sergeant had not violated any professional police standards for authority, respect and courtesy, use of force, or equality and diversity.
Interestingly, since this ruling, the mainstream media, who were previously eager to cover the incident, have been noticeably quiet on the findings.
This shift in coverage is especially pronounced given the number of protests that were initially sparked by the incident.
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Another six officers, also part of the IOPC investigation, were found to have no case to answer for misconduct.
However, it was suggested that four of them could benefit from reflective practice to learn from the incident.
The officer in question remains unnamed due to an order made by the panel during the proceedings.
After the ruling, West Midlands Police deputy chief constable Scott Green said an independent, legally qualified chair had held the hearing.
“We do not underestimate the impact this incident had on the man as well as the Sikh community, both locally and further afield.”
He added: “I would like to acknowledge the valuable support of our Sikh police officers who provided a perspective to this sensitive case.”
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