Friday, September 21, 2007

Police officer racially abuses man, Assistant Commissioner finds no wrong doing

Anthony Housden, a black man, was arrested in July 2005 following an incident on a train and taken to Plumstead police station.

He was placed in an enclosed area, a holding cage surrounded by a mesh metal frame, where he was kept for about half an hour.

33-year-old PC Wayne Bell, an officer for seven years, told Mr Housden he was behaving like a badly behaved chimp, and imitated a monkey, in a racially abusive manner.

When PC Wayne Bell appeared before a misconduct panel over the chimp incident at Plumstead police station in July 2005 he was found guilty.

Another officer, PC Wakeling, was found guilty of misconduct by failing to report his fellow officer.

The case was then reviewed by Assistant Commissioner Andy Hayman who found only one of three charges proved in PC Bell's case and substituted a financial penalty.

He found none of the charges proved against PC Wakeling.

Today the case took another twist and the officers' careers were placed in fresh jeopardy when High Court judge Mr Justice Wyn Williams ruled Mr Hayman's decision "fatally flawed" and quashed it at the request of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

The judge said: "In reaching contrary conclusions the (Assistant Commissioner) clearly fell into error."

The errors he made were so fundamental as to make Mr Hayman's decision fatally flawed.

He had also exceeded his powers in the case of PC Wakeling, said the judge.

PC Bell was charged with committing a racially motivated offence contrary to the 1986 Public Order Act, but the prosecution was dismissed at Bow Street Magistrates' Court in March last year.

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