A police watchdog is investigating after footage appearing to show a police officer kneeling on a man before punching him while he was being arrested emerged on social media.
The video has prompted wide-spread criticism and lead to an officer being placed on reduced duties.
The clip was taken in Grosvenor Road, Westcliff, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, on Saturday and widely shared on social media.
It shows multiple officers arresting a man with onlookers accusing police of being ‘heavy handed’.
The suspect appears to lunge at an officer before being bundled to the floor and knelt on.
The video has prompted wide-spread criticism and lead to an officer being placed on reduced duties
The clip was taken in Grosvenor Road, Westcliff, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, on Saturday and widely shared on social media
After watching the video, Sam Adams, 55, a member of the Southend Stand Up To Racism group, said: ‘It makes for quite shocking viewing.
‘The response and treatment does not match the threat from this man, as it seems to me from the video there was none.
‘Despite this he is put to the floor and they do not need to kneel on him and punch him like that. He was restrained and was not posing any threat at that point.’
She also claimed there were enough police to restrain him without force.
She added: ‘Officers are still kneeling on people despite all we know abut the dangers of this.
‘The police are trained to restrain people in a way that does not harm them.’ It has been alleged that the suspect assaulted an emergency worker.
Jordan Conaty, 26, from Southend, shared the video and said the issue needs urgent attention.
He said: ‘He’s obviously being combative verbally but I couldn’t see any sign of him lashing out and realistically if he did they could’ve brought him to the floor.
‘He lost control of himself.’
It shows multiple officers arresting a man with onlookers accusing police of being ‘heavy handed’
The resident also raised concerns other officers at the scene were ‘preoccupied with stopping people filming, rather than the incident’, although footage showed an officer offer his police identification to the man filming.
Martin Terry, Independent councillor for community safety, said there must be a balance between police doing their job and using too much force.
He said: ‘There are times when police need to be robust but I do not condone any unnecessary violence.
‘It’s ironic it comes around the time an officer was injured while carrying out their daily duties. ‘It’s a complex issue and police put their lives at risk for the community each day.’
Following the incident an officer involved has been placed on reduced duties and the force has referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.
Essex police said had referred itself to the standards watchdog and an officer has been placed on reduced duties.
Police bosses have insisted officers work to high standards and the alleged incident is being investigated.
A force spokesman said: ‘We are aware of a video circulating on social media.
‘Officers received calls from members of the public following a collision in Grosvenor Road, Westcliff, at around 5.40pm. During the incident an officer reported being assaulted.
‘During his period of detention the arrested man was taken to hospital, during which time he was further arrested on suspicion of public order offences.
‘He was later discharged and returned to police custody where he was interviewed. He has been released under investigation.
Police bosses have insisted officers work to high standards and the alleged incident is being investigated
‘We voluntarily referred the matter to the Independent Office for Police Conduct this morning.
‘An officer has been placed on restricted duties whilst the investigation takes place which is standard procedure in these circumstances.
‘Essex Police has rigorous over sight of the use of force by officers to ensure it is used appropriately and so we can continue to learn and improve.’
Police said the investigation process will allow the force to scrutinise each incident.
The force was previously rated as ‘good’ at treating the public with fairness and respect by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services.
A 32 year-old man was arrested on suspicion of a offences including: drink driving; driving while disqualified; driving without insurance; possession of a Class B drug; using threatening or abusive words or behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress and assaulting an emergency worker.