West Yorkshire Police has been censured for a “poor” investigation into misconduct complaints by a businessman who claims he was assaulted by officers outside a football stadium.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has ordered West Yorkshire Police to repeat their inquiry into allegations by Tony Ramsden, 46, relating to the force’s probe of an incident after Leeds United’s match with Manchester United at Elland Road in September 2011.
The father-of-two from Wakefield says he was hit with a baton and kicked by a mounted officer. After two investigations the force says the claims are not proven and no officers have been disciplined. Mr Ramsden complained about the conduct of officers investigating the alleged assault, leading to a further probe by the force’s Professional Standards Department (PSD).
But the watchdog has now concluded that the department’s report into the misconduct claims was “poor” and that the investigating officer failed to make the “bare minimum” effort to look into one of the allegations.
West Yorkshire Police has come under fire in recent years for its handling of complaints and conduct issues and was the subject of an integrity report published this year by former Metropolitan Police Authority chief executive Catherine Crawford.
Mr Ramsden has called for an outside force to be brought in to re-investigate. One of his complaints to the standards department contested the claim that officers involved in the alleged assault at Elland Road could not be identified from video footage, despite their helmets being clearly marked with numbers.
IPCC casework manager Graeme Thame wrote that the department’s report rejecting this claim was “inadequate”. He said: “I would have expected that the bare minimum that could be expected of an investigation of this complaint would be to watch the footage referred to and ask the officer subject of the complaint for their response to the allegation. There is no indication in the investigation report that this has been done.”
Mr Ramsden also complained that while at Holbeck police station in Leeds, a senior officer came into the interview room and told him his complaint “would not go anywhere and would be wasting taxpayers’ money”.
Mr Thame said the standards department report rejecting this complaint did not seek the account of Mr Ramsden, who identified the officer who allegedly made the remark. West Yorkshire Police has been told to repeat its investigation and that the report sent to Mr Ramsden last year was “poor”. The IPCC author upheld his appeal and added: “There is no discussion of evidence and nothing I would be happy to describe as a rationale.”
Mr Ramsden is separately asking for permission to appeal a judge’s rejection of his legal challenge against the IPCC over the way the watchdog investigated the original assault allegation.
Detective Chief Superintendent Andy Brennan, head of the force’s Professional Standards Department, said: “We are aware that the IPCC have upheld an appeal by Mr Ramsden and we are reviewing the matters raised.”