Cop in gross misconduct probe as seven officers investigated over Sikh head covering furore

A West Midlands Police officer is being investigated over alleged gross misconduct after claims a Sikh man’s head covering was “forcibly removed” while he was in custody in Birmingham.

West Midlands police have already been slammed for failing to investigate a racist attack against a Muslim security guard

The force watchdog said six officers were also being examined over misconduct allegations for “failing to challenge the officer’s use of force and treatment of the man”.

The probe was launched by the Independent Office for Police Conduct after an incident at Perry Barr custody suite in October.

All seven officers facing investigations into their actions were said to have been in the suite at the time, the IOPC said. But it stressed that misconduct proceedings would not automatically follow. Details of the incident were previously made public but now the organisation has detailed the allegations facing the officers.

Regional director Derrick Campbell said: “Our investigation is still very much ongoing with notices served on seven officers who were all in the custody suite when the incident is said to have happened.

“The notices advise the officers that their conduct is subject to an investigation because there is an indication they may have breached police standards of professional behaviour.

“However, it does not necessarily mean misconduct proceedings will follow. It is only once our investigation is complete that we will make decisions about whether or not the officers have a case to answer and should face disciplinary proceedings.

“We continue to keep the complainant updated as our investigation progresses.”

Assistant Chief Constable for Local Policing, Richard Baker, met with the victim of the alleged misconduct last month to apologise on behalf of West Midlands Police.

There was uproar when details of the claim surfaced, with a video – later confirmed as false by the IOPC – said to show the man’s head covering being ‘stamped on’ by officers.

Mr Baker said: “This investigation remains with the IOPC and it will be some time before we know the final outcome.

“We do not underestimate the impact this has had on the man as well as the Sikh community, both locally and further afield.

“I would like to acknowledge the valuable support of our Sikh police officers who provided a perspective to this sensitive case. I’m also grateful for the ongoing input from the numerous community groups and individuals who are assisting West Midlands Police to improve the experiences of people going through our custody suites.

“We are committed to treating everyone with dignity and respect and we continue to strive for better relationships with the communities we serve.”

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