Ian Tomlinson manslaughter trial: ‘Rogue officer’ faced a number of complaints

PC SIMON Harwood’s disciplinary record could not be put before the jury. A series ofallegations were made against him in a period of 12 years, but details were ruled inadmiss­ible as part of the trial.

The officer faced a number of complaints, one of which prompted a chief to say his conduct had “fallen well below that expected of a

police officer”.

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After the inquest into Mr Tomlinson’s death last year, lawyers for the victim’s family claimed PC Harwood kept his job by “side-stepping” the disciplinary process.

Matthew Ryder, QC, said the officer had admitted hitting “red-mist mode” in the past.

The barrister described him as a “rogue officer, who should not have been where he was, in a position to do what he did”.

Details of the officer’s background were deemed legally inadmissible at both the inquest and the subsequent trial for manslaughter.

Allegations included:

• l7 April, 2000 – PC Harwood was accused of involvement in a “road-rage” incident with another motorist while off-duty. Witnesses claimed he shouted, knocked the motorist over his car door and then announced he was a police officer and arrested him for common assault.

A Metropolitan Police commander decided PC Harwood’s behaviour, which resulted in the driver receiving compensation, was not up to standard, Mr Ryder said.

PC Harwood was told he should face disciplinary proceedings, but retired from the force days before proceedings would have begun.

The officer had applied to be “medically retired”, citing injuries suffered in an unrelated traffic accident about three years previously.

One weekend later, he began working as a civilian employee for the force, relocating to an

office in Croydon.

About 18 months after that, he was back on the streets in

uniform.

• April 2003 – Having joined neighbouring Surrey Police, the force received a complaint from a fellow officer about PC Harwood using excessive force.

While carrying out an arrest at a flat, PC Harwood was allegedly seen grabbing a suspect by the throat and pushing him into a wooden table, causing it to break.

It was claimed he then punched him against a wall,

according to the fellow officer.

As he was led away, the man shouted at PC Harwood: “I’ll f****** have you.” The officer

allegedly replied: “Go on then, I’ll do you all over again.”

PC Newman, the officer who filed the complaint, said PC Harwood “went over the top” and that he was “shocked”. But the complaint was logged as unsubstantiated.

A month later, PC Harwood

applied to be transferred back to the Met.

• February 2005 –Concerns over his behaviour continued after he joined the Met’s specialist territorial support group. A complaint was made by a member of the public who said he saw PC Harwood kneeing a man in the back during an arrest in Streat­ham High Street. The complaint was not upheld.

• 2006 – The following year, PC Harwood was accused of attempting to steal a mobile phone and threatening violence.The complaint was resolved locally with no further action taken.

• 2008 – PC Harwood stopped AA man Junior Samms, who later alleged that while he was handcuffed the officer had twisted the cuffs and shouted at him.

In another incident – the only complaint against PC Harwood that was upheld – he was accused of unlawfully accessing the police national computer (PNC). He accessed the data­base after discovering his wife had been involved in a road accident.

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