Gross misconduct allegations not proven against West Midlands Police sergeant
A West Midlands Police sergeant has been cleared of gross misconduct allegations relating to his treatment of a Sikh man in custody, following an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
The man had complained that his religious head covering, a Patka, was forcibly removed at the Perry Barr custody suite in Birmingham, leaving him traumatised. He also claimed that the disrespectful manner in which he had been treated during the October 2021 incident, was racial discrimination.
After a two-day hearing before an independent panel, led by a legally qualified chair, the sergeant who removed the head covering was on Tuesday (1 August) found not to have breached police professional standards for authority, respect and courtesy, use of force, and equality and diversity. The allegations concerned his handling of the situation and his decision to remove the man’s head covering.
The panel made an order that the officer should not be named in any reports from the proceedings, which were organised by West Midlands Police.
IOPC Regional Director for the West Midlands, Derrick Campbell, said: “Part of our role is to address incidents involving the police which have significant community impact. This matter caused local unrest, and we established early on that, contrary to some reports, the man’s head covering had not been stamped on.
“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. That evidence has now been heard before a police disciplinary panel which found the allegations not proven.”
The IOPC’s investigation, which was completed in May last year (2022) determined there was no case to answer for misconduct for another six officers whose conduct we assessed, but that four of them would benefit from taking part in reflective practice to learn from the incident.