IOPC investigates West Midlands Police use of force on football fan

Published: 23 Feb 2024

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has told two West Midlands Police officers that they are under investigation for gross misconduct over their use of force on a football fan attending a Walsall match.

The IOPC is progressing its investigation into complaints by Edward Papas that he was assaulted by officers after the match at the Bescot Stadium on 4 March last year (2023), while walking back to his car under escort with away fans from Barrow.

Mr Papas was himself arrested for assaulting police after an altercation following an exchange of words with a steward. However he was cleared when the case went to court in January this year.

He subsequently made a complaint about the officers and we began an investigation in January following a referral from West Midlands Police. We have now served notices advising the officers, who are both constables, that their conduct is being investigated at the level of gross misconduct, and they will be interviewed in due course. The serving of notices does not mean that proceedings will necessarily follow.

IOPC Regional Director Derrick Campbell said: “Footage from the incident has been circulated in the media and a thorough investigation is being carried out into the officers’ use of force, and also complaints that police withheld evidence from the criminal case against Mr Papas. 

“We have spoken to him about our work and will continue to provide regular updates. At the end of our investigation we will decide whether the officers have a case to answer in respect of the conduct allegations.”

IOPC investigators have reviewed police body worn footage and CCTV footage of the incident as part of their enquiries.  

  • West Midlands Police
  • Use of force and armed policing