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Tactical contact officer cleared

A police officer who employed “tactical contact” to knock a suspected scooter thief off his bike can keep his job because his actions were “reasonable”, a tribunal has ruled.

PC Edwin Sutton faced a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday for allegedly breaching professional standards by using a “dangerous” method to stop a teenage driver escaping after a suspected handbag theft.

However the panel concluded that PC Sutton acted “reasonably” and that his action was “necessary for the apprehension of a suspected criminal”.

PC Sutton was seen wiping away tears as the decision was read out, and rank and file officers have attacked how he was treated.

The incident occurred on 21 May, 2017 when the moped driver – a 17-year-old boy known only as Mr G – was allegedly seriously injured after Pc Sutton moved his marked vehicle into the rider’s path to stop him speeding off.

Colleagues of PC Sutton, who will retire from the Met Police in four weeks’ time after 30 years of service, criticised the “absurd” misconduct procedure being brought against him by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) in the first place.

Last year the Met Police announced it would target moped thieves “at every opportunity” with the new tactical contact policy.

Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said: “My colleague has been through just over two years of complete hell. His family life has suffered from it. He is four weeks from the end of 30 years of service which has been exemplary and he has had to face this.

“What do the public want? Do they want us to protect them and the streets of London. Then we will go out and do what we are doing and take bad people off the streets. But at times there will be a cost. There will be injuries. Sorry about that but we want to look after the goodies and go after the baddies.”

Marsh said the hearing was a waste of taxpayer money: “What this has cost is two years of a police officer’s salary and thousand and thousands of pounds in terms of investigation. For what?

“We have no issue about the transparency of colleagues being investigated but come on. This was so straightforward, he was so evidently in the clear.”

The outcome of the hearing comes days after Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced plans to change the law to give police greater protection when choosing to engage in the tactic known as a “boxing manoeuvre”. Figures showed that it had slashed moped crime by 50%.

Under Javid’s proposed reforms, a new legal test will require prosecutors to recognise the skills and training of police drivers which enable them safely to carry out manoeuvres at high speed that would be regarded as dangerous or reckless if attempted by an ordinary driver.

Picture: PC Sutton was cleared of any wrong doing in yesterday’s hearing, after ramming a 17-year-old suspected criminal off his moped Credit: Metropolitan Police

As a reminder of what the police are up against:

A moped gang behind a string of high profile raids are facing years behind bars.

The 12 defendants caused outrage after they were caught on CCTV targeting a woman with a young child in broad daylight in Richmond.

On 21 June last year they threatened to snatch the victim’s three-year-old son unless she handed over her jewellery.

One of the defendants, Isaac McFadyen, 19, told her: “Give me your rings. I’m going to hurt your child and take him away.”

The panicked woman can be seen dragging her child into the road before builders chase the gang away brandishing scaffolding poles.

The footage went viral after being circulated on social media by Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden, who asked the public to “call 101 or 999 if u know these scumbags”.

Taking the gang off the streets has helped cut moped-enabled crime in the capital by 52% in the space of a year, the Met said.