Officer found guilty of assault following evading arrest incident Croydon Fare – Keep The Faith ® UK Multi-Ethnic and Black Christian Magazine

A Metropolitan Police Service officer has been convicted of an assault charge following an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation into an incident where a woman was arrested on suspicion of fare evasion in Croydon last year.

PC Perry Lathwood, from the Roads Policing Command, was today found guilty of assault by beating. The verdict followed a one-day trial at City of London Magistrates’ Court last week. He will be sentenced on June 14.

We began the investigation following a complaint from the Met Police, which was made on behalf of the woman in the days after the incident took place on Whitehorse Road on 21 July 2023.

We established that PC Lathwood and other officers were assisting Transport for London (TFL) in a joint revenue protection operation to target fare evasion.

At around 11.12, the woman got off a bus with her small child. She was approached by a TFL inspector and asked for the ticket. The woman said she told the inspector to go with her while she got her bus pass because she was in a hurry.

A MET police community support officer saw this and stood in the woman’s path to try to stop her leaving.

Footage carried by the police force shows PC Lathwood approaching the woman and grabbing her arm to stop her leaving. He told the woman she was being held for evading and warned her.

A struggle ensued, with the woman repeatedly stating that she wanted the officers to let her go. PC Lathwood informed the woman she was under arrest and handcuffed her with the help of another officer.

After the woman was detained by officers, her bus pass was scanned, confirming she had paid for her journey. The handcuffs were removed and she was taken into custody.

Footage of the incident was also captured from videos shot by members of the public and CCTV from the bus.

The woman’s account and hospital notes indicated that as a result of the incident, she suffered pain to her wrists, her right arm, which was being held by the officer, and her shoulder, with bruising noted by a doctor.

The evidence examined in our investigation included several videos, medical evidence, accounts from other police and TFL staff present, police records and local and national policies and legislation. The officer was interviewed under prosecution and we also obtained an account from the woman.

At the end of our investigation, we submitted an evidence file to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to determine whether or not the officer should be charged with an offence. The CPS decided the officer should be charged with assault by beating.

IOPC Regional Director Mel Palmer said:

Today a judge found PC Lathwood’s use of force against the woman after her arrest, including handcuffing and holding her arm, was unlawful and he was convicted of assault.

Any use of force by officers should be reasonable, proportionate and justified in the circumstances.

This was a high-profile incident which caused significant concern, particularly in the Croydon community, after images of the incident were published online.

We have carried out an independent and impartial investigation to establish the facts surrounding this incident, including the actions of the police officers involved.

The decision to refer a file of evidence to the CPS to consider criminal charges is not something we take lightly and has been made after careful consideration of the evidence, including liaising with the CPS.”

Following the conclusion of the criminal proceedings, we will now liaise with the force to proceed with the disciplinary proceedings for the officer.

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