Force apologises for ‘very disproportionate’ response
A police officer has been dismissed after repeatedly bludgeoning a vulnerable teenage girl, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said.
Metropolitan Police officer Benjamin Kemp was dismissed without notice following a disciplinary hearing by the IOPC.
The panel heard PC Kemp had hit a 17-year-old girl with learning disabilities with a baton “at least 30 times”.
The girl had been on an escorted walk in Newham before she ran off from the group after becoming distressed on 8 May 2019.
She flagged down a passing police car and agreed to get in, but then got out again.
PC Kemp attempted to handcuff her, but when unsuccessful he sprayed CS gas less than a metre from her face, the IOPC said.
“Within seconds he started using his baton and then struck her several times,” a report said.
When another police unit arrived, the girl was immediately Tasered by an officer from that vehicle. She was then struck several times more by PC Kemp, handcuffed and put into a police van.
An investigation followed after a complaint was made by NHS workers and the girl’s mother.
The watchdog commented that the girl was black but there was no indication that racial discrimination played a factor in this case.
IOPC regional director Sal Naseem said the force used by police “would be shocking to most people”.
He added: “The disciplinary panel also found PC Kemp had behaved in a manner which lacked self-control and did not take into account the vulnerable status of the teenager, who appeared very frightened.
“The poor communication by this officer got the incident off to a bad start and, once he started to use the baton, he was unable to change tack.”
The IOPC said the six-month investigation found the officer who used the Taser “had no case to answer for use of force” but there was a case for misconduct and he received “management action” in August last year.
It said the officer showed a lack of respect to the girl and her health carer, who later arrived at the scene.
Chief Superintendent Richard Tucker, who leads policing for the north east, apologised to the girl and her family, describing the use of force by PC Kemp as “utterly inappropriate”.
He said: “He over-reacted, used excessive force in a very disproportionate manner and was unprofessional.
“For that he has been held to account, and has been rightly dismissed from the service.
“I can assure you his actions are not representative of how we deal with situations like this in Newham and across London.”