In response to social media footage circulating of an incident which occurred in Wembley at around 11.00am on Wednesday, 22 July, North West Area Commander, Roy Smith, said:
“I am aware of the footage, which shows approximately 30 seconds of an encounter which lasted over 15 minutes; and have personally viewed the body worn video taken by my officers.
“Officers were on routine patrol when they stopped the driver of a vehicle, who was informed that he was being detained for the purposes of a search under Section 23 of the Misuse of Drugs Act. He was not handcuffed.
“The driver pushed one of the officers in the chest and grabbed at the second officer’s PAVA spray. Officers subsequently detained the man and a Taser was deployed due to his behaviour. The officers were struggling on the ground with the man and surrounded by a crowd, some of whom filmed the incident.
“The man was arrested for obstruction of a drugs search and assaulting an emergency worker. He was taken to Colindale Police Station and later released under investigation.
“At one point in the social media footage the arrested man can be heard to comment that he could not breathe. It is not clear to me why this might be the case, given he was able to resist the officers and communicate with them clearly. In line with their training, the officers moved the man onto his side at the earliest opportunity ensuring his airways were not obstructed.
“Two officers suffered minor injuries during the incident, with one requiring hospital treatment having been spat at in the eye.
“Partial footage of incidents and related commentary can cause concern for everyone. In this case, having seen the footage, I am of the opinion that the officers were trying their best with a man who did not want to cooperate with them in any way. Officers need our support.
“We expect them to police our streets without fear or favour; to uphold the law and act with professionalism and restraint. Despite being assaulted and subjected to completely unnecessary abuse, I believe these officers did just that.
“When we get it wrong we are committed to listening and learning and officers accept that they should be subject to appropriate scrutiny. Where they act lawfully and proportionately to uphold the law it is only right that we defend those actions.”