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Video: Police to investigate officer's behaviour during Wycombe arrest
POLICE have launched an investigation into the behaviour of an officer after a man claims he was assaulted during an arrest captured on video.
Officers were called to Desborough Avenue in High Wycombe at 1pm on Monday to reports of criminal damage and an assault.
Superintendent Ed McLean said his officers were ‘faced with a hostile crowd’ as they arrested a 43-year-old man for public order offences.
A video of the arrest (below) was uploaded on to social media, which appears to show a male officer spraying the man - who was bent over by a wall - in the face with CS Gas before striking him several times with a baton.
The crowd can be heard shouting and accusing the officer of excessive force, while the officer shouts ‘get back’ as he wields the spray and baton.
WARNING: Strong language and violence.
It has sparked criticism of the officer’s handling of the situation, with the arrested man making a formal complaint.
Supt Ed McLean, the Wycombe Area Commander, said: "Having reviewed the incident, it is clear my officers were faced with a challenging and difficult situation.
"A man was non-compliant and was actively resisting arrest.
"Officers were faced with a crowd who at times appeared extremely hostile and were, in my view, inflaming an already difficult situation."
Supt McLean said the matter had been referred to Thames Valley Police’s Professional Standards Department for review.
He added: "I am aware that the actions of my officers were captured and have been uploaded onto social media.
"Concerns were raised to me about the conduct of my officers and as a result a full investigation has been opened...
"I would like to point out that my officers consistently display the highest levels of professionalism and they understand the needs and expectations of our communities in displaying those values at all times."
In a second video uploaded to YouTube, the arrested man said he was "not really" given a reason for why he was being arrested by officers following a row with a man over the proposed sale of a car.
He added: “The officer said ‘you’re under arrest’, I was like, OK, whatever, and then he said ‘get on the floor’.
"I said no, I’m not getting on the floor – you don’t need to put me on the floor to handcuff me.
“He’s taken a kick at me and nearly fell over, that embarrassed him, so he started spraying me and tried to grip my arm, but I wouldn’t let him.
“She’s got my arm, I give it to her and said ‘calm down you’ve got my arm’...next thing, he pulls out the truncheon and starts beating me.”
The Justice4Paps campaign group, which is working alongside the arrested man, said the level of force used by officers was "extremely excessive and completely disproportionate to the situation".
Saqib Deshmukh said: "We were taken aback by how defensive the statement from the police was. It seems they are trying to justify it.
"We are also concerned with the complaints process as we feel it is a way of trying to kick it in to the long grass."
Police said the man has been released on bail until August 5.