UK policeman cleared of gross misconduct for alleged removal of Sikh man’s patka

London, Aug 6: A West Midlands Police sergeant from northern England has been cleared of gross misconduct allegations relating to his treatment of a Sikh man in custody, following an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
The man had complained that his religious head covering, known as a patka, was forcibly removed at the Perry Barr custody suite in Birmingham, leaving him traumatised.
He also claimed that the disrespectful manner in which he had been treated during the October 2021 incident, was racial discrimination.
“Part of our role is to address incidents involving the police which have significant community impact. This matter caused local unrest, and we established early on that, contrary to some reports, the man’s head covering had not been stamped on,” said Derrick Campbell, IOPC Regional Director for the West Midlands.
“We carried out a thorough investigation and from the evidence gathered it was our opinion that for one officer there was a case to answer for gross misconduct. That evidence has now been heard before a police disciplinary panel which found the allegations not proven,” he said.
After a two-day hearing earlier this week before an independent panel, led by a legally qualified chair, the sergeant who removed the head covering was found not to have breached police professional standards for authority, respect and courtesy, use of force, and equality and diversity.
The allegations concerned his handling of the situation and his decision to remove the man’s head covering.
The panel also made an order that the officer should not be named in any reports from the proceedings, which were organised by West Midlands Police.
The IOPC’s overall investigation into the case, which was completed in May last year, had already determined there was no case to answer for misconduct for another six officers whose conduct was assessed, but that four of them would benefit from taking part in reflective practice to learn from the incident. (PTI)