G20 cop cleared of killing Ian Tomlinson found guilty of gross misconduct and sacked by disciplinary panel amid ‘whitewash’ claims
THE police officer cleared of killing Ian Tomlinson will be sacked after being found guilty of gross misconduct at a disciplinary hearing dismissed by the newspaper seller’s family as a “whitewash”.
• Simon Harwood found guilty of ‘discreditable conduct’ and ‘use of force’
• PC Harwood admitted using unnecessary force and accepted his actions and subsequent reporting brought discredit on the Metropolitan Police
• Officer sacked following verdict
A Metropolitan Police disciplinary panel, sitting in public for the first time, dismissed
Pc Simon Harwood, 45, for breaking rules relating to professional standards. He hit Mr Tomlinson with a baton and shoved him to the ground on the fringes of the G20 protests in London in April 2009.
Father-of-nine Mr Tomlinson, who was moving away from police lines at the time, managed to walk 75 yards before he collapsed, and later died from internal injuries.
Chairman of the panel Commander Julian Bennett said of Harwood: “His actions have discredited the police service and undermined public confidence in it.
“He has accepted it will be impossible for him to ever again serve as a police officer. We agree, as we consider it inconceivable that he could ever hold a role within the police service again.”
Mr Bennett said Harwood was dismissed with immediate effect. But because he has not been convicted of a criminal offence, he will keep his police pension.
James Lewis QC, for the Metropolitan Police, told the hearing Harwood’s behaviour was “utterly unacceptable for the police service and completely justifies his immediate dismissal”.
Mr Tomlinson’s family dismissed the proceedings as “a whitewash”. Speaking outside the police building in west London where the hearing took place, his stepson Paul King said: “I think it’s pointless. It hasn’t proved anything to us. We still haven’t got any answer from this. After three-and-a-half years, I think it’s diabolical. It’s like we’re back at day one.”
He pledged that the family would carry on fighting. It is planning to take civil action over Mr Tomlinson’s death.
Mr Bennett said Harwood’s actions had discredited the Metropolitan Police.
“Pc Harwood’s use of force in this case cannot be justified. His actions have discredited the police service and undermined public confidence in it,” he said.
“Whilst we have considered all available outcomes, we have no doubt that Pc Harwood is not fit to hold the office of constable, and accordingly he is dismissed from the Metropolitan Police Service with immediate effect.”
Speaking outside the hearing, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Maxine de Brunner said: “We must remember that on
1 April, 2009, Ian Tomlinson
lost his life. I take full responsibility for Simon Harwood and I would like to offer my sincere apologies and condolences to his family.
“Today’s hearing has resulted in the maximum penalty that was ever available to the panel, dismissal due to gross misconduct. That leaves no ambiguity as to how the Met views the actions of Simon Harwood.”
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