Police in Tower Hamlets arrest videos are put on 'desk duties' as IPCC investigates
PUBLISHED: 16:07 20 October 2016 | UPDATED: 19:11 20 October 2016
The police watchdog has stepped in to carry out investigations into the arrests of two young people in Tower Hamlets after videos of the controversial incidents went viral.
The force has placed two police officers featured in the videos on “restricted desk duties” while the investigations are underway.
The borough’s top police officer announced the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) had taken over the inquiries at a public meeting last night.
Borough commander Sue Williams was quizzed about the separate incidents, in which a 13-year-old schoolgirl and a 26-year-old youth worker were arrested and physically restrained earlier this month.
Video footage of the incidents has been viewed thousands of times on social media.
Det Ch Supt Williams acknowledged there was “a lot of angst within the community” and said “I absolutely respect that” adding “we do take this really seriously”.
She said: “I have reflected back the public sentiment and the feeling of the community about how emotive it was. We have made a decision that both of the officers who are centre to the two videos will be on restricted duties.”
She was questioned about the arrest of youth worker Zakaria Hussain outside the Arbour Youth Centre in Stepney on October 8, with audience members praising him as a “young role model in our community”.
Footage of the arrest shows him being grabbed around the head by a police officer.
Audience members told the borough commander his treatment had set police relations in Tower Hamlets back 20 years.
The family of Bethnal Green teenager Katelynn Murphy King, 13, also demanded answers about why she was handcuffed and dragged on her knees by a police officer following a row with an older schoolgirl outside Wapping High School on October 5.
The IPCC is investigating an allegation of excessive use of force against the schoolgirl and has issued an appeal for witness to come forward.
Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs said confidence in police had been eroded.
“I’ve come because there’s been a lot of anxiety, not least in myself, about the incidents in the last couple of weeks and I wanted to hear what people say about that,” he said.
IPCC associate commissioner Tom Milsom, who will lead the inquiries, also attended the meeting.
He pledged to carry out full and thorough investigations.
* Anybody who saw the incident involving Zakaria Hussain or who has any footage of it is asked to contact the IPCC on 0800 151 0019 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
* Anybody with information on the incident involving Katelynn Murphy King should contact the IPCC on 0800 096 9076 or email email@example.com