The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found the use of force against a man during a bail process in Hastings was not justified.
On 23 January 2020, a man was arrested for reckless driving in Hastings. He was uncooperative and showed signs of recent alcohol intake. He was transported to Hastings Police Station where he continued to be uncooperative.
The Authority had the benefit of viewing CCTV of large portions of the incident and has used the footage to assist with evaluating the officers’ accounts.
The man was agitated during his release from custody and verbally threatening the officers. An officer used force to remove the man from the station saying he believed the man was going to assault either himself or one of his colleagues. The man alleged that the officer choked him, which the officer denies.
The CCTV footage shows that the officer initiated the physical confrontation. At the point in time when the force was used the man was walking away from the officer and moving towards the exit door with his hands by his side holding his property. The Authority does not accept that the officer used force for the purpose of defending himself or his colleagues. Rather the officer used pre-emptive force as opposed to a response to an immediate threat of harm. As such the use of force was excessive and not justified.
The Authority is unable to substantiate whether the man was choked as he alleged.
“We do not accept the officer genuinely believed he was about to be assaulted at the point in time when the force was used. He was not acting in self-defence, and his use of force was excessive and not justified” said Authority Chair, Judge Colin Doherty.