West Midlands Police sergeant to face gross misconduct hearing following IOPC investigation into incident at Perry Barr custody suite
An Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation into an incident at Perry Barr custody suite, in Birmingham, last year has concluded that a West Midlands Police sergeant has a case to answer for gross misconduct.
Our investigation assessed the actions of seven officers after a complaint was referred to the IOPC regarding the treatment of a man in custody in October 2021. The Sikh man complained that his religious head covering was forcibly removed in the custody suite. The man also stated he was left traumatised and disrespected by the way he was treated – claiming it was due to discrimination against him as a Sikh, calling it a “racial hate crime”.
We assessed body worn video and CCTV footage from the custody suite as well as accounts from the complainant and officers in attendance. Our investigation concluded in May 2022 and determined that the sergeant may have breached police standards of professional behaviour relating to equality and diversity, authority respect and courtesy and use of force relating to his handling of the situation and his decision to remove the man’s head covering.
We determined there was no case to answer for misconduct for the other six officers, but that four of them would benefit from taking part in reflective practice to learn from the incident.
IOPC Regional Director Derrick Campbell said: “This incident caused significant unrest within the local community at the time and false videos shared on social media did understandably cause some major concern. However, we established early on in our investigation, having viewed the custody suite CCTV, that the man’s head covering was not stamped on at any stage.
“We carried out a thorough investigation which looked into the actions of all officers involved and concluded that a police sergeant had a case to answer for gross misconduct. It will be a decision for a misconduct panel, chaired by a legally qualified chair, to determine whether the allegations are proven.
“We have advised the complainant of the investigation outcome and a misconduct hearing for the police sergeant will now be organised and carried out by West Midlands Police.”