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UK lockdown: police apologise after man threatened with pepper spray – The Guardian, Theguardian.com

UK lockdown: police apologise after man threatened with pepper spray – The Guardian, Theguardian.com
Greater Manchester police said a senior member of the force would speak to the man. Photograph: Christopher Thomond / The Guardian Greater Manchester (police have apologized after a man who said he was delivering food to vulnerable family members was arrested and threatened with pepper spray. In video footage of the incident , which took place in Fallowfield, Manchester , on Friday, the man can be seen refusing to give police his details after being accused of “breaking Covid guidelines”.

“Give me a ticket for what? ” the man says to the officer. “You’re a bored guy. There’s groups of people all over the place. ” The footage, which was filmed by a neighbor, shows the officer repeatedly threatening the man with pepper spray, handcuffing him and telling him to lean against a car. “Put your hands on your head or you’re going to get sprayed, ”the officer can be heard saying. “Put your hands behind your back.”

“You just keep saying things.” over and over, ”replies the man. “You’re not helping, you’re not diluting the situation, you’re making it worse. Because I come to drop some stuff off. ” He complains that the officer has twisted the handcuffs, causing him pain.

A woman can be heard telling the officer: “In the current situation, in the current pandemic, there’s more pressing situations to be dealing with than coming over and bothering somebody going about his business on his own.” The officer tells her: “Listen … you’ll be next.”

There has been criticism that some police forces are overreaching their lockdown enforcement powers. The Guardian learned on Thursday that police chiefs wanted the government to consider toughening the restrictions, as the Easter bank holiday weekend approached. On Saturday, the chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, Martin Hewitt, said police from forces in England and Wales had issued 1, 120 fines for breaches of coronavirus regulations as of Thursday, but the number of arrests was unclear.

Greater Manchester police apologized and said that a senior member of the force was speaking to the man and his family. “Although the matter is being fully investigated by our professional standards branch, our initial review shows that the incident was not dealt with in the professional way we would expect and we apologise for that, ”a spokesperson said. “The public rightly expect the highest standards from our officers and we will investigate this matter thoroughly and properly. We would ask that the public understand the stresses that our officers are working under at present and we hope this apology will be welcome to those involved. ” It is understood the man was arrested under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act and then de-arrested and issued with a fixed penalty notice. Read More

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