Gross misconduct allegations served on Police officer Simon Harwood in death of Ian Tomlinson, London

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has this morning, Monday 29 November 2010, served gross misconduct allegations against PC Simon Harwood in relation to the death of Ian Tomlinson during the G20 protests.

Since the Crown Prosecution Service decision in July not to prosecute PC Harwood, the MPS has been progressing bringing disciplinary proceedings in liaison with the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

This has been extremely complex with extensive legal consultation over the process and nature of the allegations.

Significant time has been required to prepare the disclosure requirements of the large amount of documents which legally had to be served at the time of the misconduct allegations. In the region of 14,000 documents were reviewed as part of the preparation, with approximately 1,500 pages served this morning on PC Harwood.

Following IPCC agreement to the MPS proposed misconduct allegations, PC Harwood has now been notified that he will face a gross misconduct hearing to answer allegations that he pushed and struck Mr Tomlinson, and that such dangerous actions inadvertently caused or contributed to the death of Mr Tomlinson.

The misconduct panel is made up of three people who will be assisted by a legal advisor. The two senior MPS officers will be Deputy Assistant Commissioner Lynne Owens and Commander Julian Bennett. The third person is an independent member of the public who is selected from a list managed by the Metropolitan Police Authority.

The chair of the panel, DAC Owens, is normally required to hold the hearing within 30 working days after service of papers on the officer. The proceeding can be adjourned however if it is necessary to do so.

The MPS is currently writing to relevant interested parties so that any representation about the proposed timing of the hearing can be considered by the Chair.

The misconduct process is not intended to be a means of airing criminal allegations. Its sole purpose is to determine whether the officer’s conduct fell below the standards required of a police officer and to provide a suitable discipline outcome should the allegation be found proven.

Should the gross misconduct allegations be proven the most serious outcome available to the panel would be dismissal without notice.

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