IOPC appeals for witnesses to Croydon fare evasion arrest incident

Published: 03 Aug 2023

We are appealing for witnesses as the investigation progresses into the arrest of a woman on suspicion of fare evasion in Croydon, south London. 

We have established that the incident began at 11.12am on Friday 21 July on Whitehorse Road, after the woman and her child exited the 157 bus, which was travelling to Morden. 

A number of Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) officers and community support officers (PCSOs) were waiting at the bus stop assisting TFL inspectors, who were conducting a revenue protection operation. 

During the incident the woman was arrested on suspicion of fare evasion and was handcuffed. The woman was de-arrested and the handcuffs were removed after it was confirmed she had paid the fare.

IOPC regional director Mel Palmer said: “We’re aware that the incident took place in public in front of several people, some of whom recorded the incident on their phones. 

“We know that footage widely shared on social media does not show the full incident and we are working to piece together all of the circumstances surrounding the arrest. 

“Therefore, it’s important that we speak with anyone who witnessed any part of this incident and that we gather all relevant footage that may assist our investigation. 

“We also want to hear from any commuters who were on the 157 bus to Morden on Friday 21 July, when it stopped on Whitehorse Road shortly after 11.10am.” 

Anyone who witnessed this incident, or has footage which may assist, is urged to contact us by emailing [email protected] or phoning 0300 303 5731 and leaving a message with your name and contact number.

Our investigation began following a complaint referral from the MPS on 24 July. The complaint, which was made by a family member on the woman’s behalf, alleged that she was racially profiled because she was Black and was verbally abused by an officer. 

We have been in contact with the family member, at the woman’s request, to explain our role. They have specifically requested that people refrain from sharing videos of the incident on social media out of concern for the privacy of the woman and her young son. 

Investigators have secured officers’ body worn footage, which is currently being reviewed, and CCTV footage from the bus. We have also been carrying out house-to-house enquiries in the immediate area to identify any potential witnesses and are making further CCTV enquiries. 

  • Metropolitan Police Service
  • Race discrimination
  • Use of force and armed policing