The West Midlands Regional Director for the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has moved to reassure local communities over their concerns about the police use of force on black men following several recent incidents.
Derrick Campbell said the IOPC was looking into complaints about incidents in Birmingham and several associated referrals from West Midlands Police regarding the alleged conduct of officers.
Mr Campbell said: “We are now looking at nine investigations connected to alleged excessive use of force on black men following six separate incidents in the Birmingham area since February.
“Footage from some of these incidents was circulated via social media and the mainstream media, and I have personally called in some of these matters for investigation using my powers under the Police Reform Act after concerns were raised with me by the community.
“I would like to reassure communities in the West Midlands that full, fair and thorough independent investigations are under way into all of these incidents and the conduct matters brought to our attention by the force. That is our role.
“I am also conscious that we do not pre-empt the outcome of these investigations. Our inquiries are looking at all the circumstances and whether the use of force by officers was justified and proportionate in each of these instances. We are also looking into complaints that police allegedly acted in a discriminatory manner towards some of the men involved.”
Mr Campbell acknowledged that the use of force is an essential tool in helping officers respond to often dangerous and challenging situations but stressed it must be reasonable, appropriate and proportionate.
“I am fully aware of the impact these incidents can have on public confidence in policing and again reiterate that we will look at these matters thoroughly and fairly. I would also stress that West Midlands Police force is co-operating fully with us.”
As well as continuing to speak with community leaders, Mr Campbell said he had also written to the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner to consult over providing local oversight on use of force so community concerns could be addressed.
Over the past month the IOPC has begun nine investigations connected to alleged excessive use of force on black men following six separate incidents.
Four of those incidents involve alleged use of force by one officer who has been suspended by West Midlands Police. Two of the new investigations are scrutinising the actions of officers who were in supervisory roles when those incidents took place.
The six incidents being investigated over excessive use of force allegations involve:
• The use of Taser on a man at Handsworth on 27 February