West Midlands Police apologises after viral video of man challenged on way to work – expressandstar.com

Grabs from a video of the police officer in Solihull
Grabs from a video of the police officer in Solihull

The force received a complaint over the incident in Solihull, where a male officer questioned a man in a hoody as he made his way to work, threatened him with arrest and called him an idiot after he refused to give his name.

The video was viewed more than 600,000 times within 24 hours of being posted and West Midlands Police has now apologised after an investigation by its Professional Standards Department.

Warning: Contains strong language. We have used stills and blurred the officers’ faces to protect their identities.

A spokesman for the force said: “We’ve reviewed video footage of one of our officers challenging a man near Dorridge train station, Solihull yesterday morning.

“It’s clear that the officer’s conduct fell far below what we would expect.

“His manner was not acceptable, not the face of West Midlands Police and we will deal with the situation.

“The officer has accepted his behaviour was not up to our high standards and we will address this as part of an action plan for his learning and development.

“The officer was with a colleague on patrol & part of their duties was ensuring people are adhering to Covid restrictions.

“The man explained he was heading to work – that’s clearly a justifiable reason to be out and about and there was no suspicion he had committed any offences.

“As such, he should not have been challenged in the way he was.”

In the video, a male officer is heard asking the man what he is up to and asking to know his name.

The man, filming the incident on his phone, says he is on his way to work and lives nearby before saying “don’t worry about that” when the officer asks for his name.

After a back and forth, the male officer gets out of the car along with his female colleague and continues to argue with the man after switching his body-worn camera on at the man’s request.

The argument continues as the man questions why the officers have decided to pick on him rather than anyone else nearby.

The officer says: “Coronavirus legislation, you have to provide me with some details, otherwise you’re going to be arrested.”

The man behind the camera tells the officer to “back up from me” and says “look how close you’re getting”, to which the officer says “because you’re going to get locked up in a bit mate”.

The man then asks “why would I allow just someone to pull me over” and the officer says “we’re the police, we’re not just someone you idiot”.

And when the man tells the officer “you need to be reinformed by the law” the camera shows the officer going behind the camera and the man being put into the back of the police car. The clip finishes with the officer saying “we’ll sort this out at the station then, so you’re going to be late to work”.

Under the latest coronavirus legislation, all but essential travel is banned but people are allowed to leave their homes to travel to work.

Officers across the country are encouraged to enforce the rules by the four Es: engage, explain, encourage, enforce.

The national police website says “if there is a problem we want to resolve it by communicating clearly and encouraging people to behave responsibly.”

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