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Social media video update

West Midlands Police has voluntarily referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) after a video was posted on social media yesterday (Sunday 10 March) which has generated concern across communities.

On 25 February officers were called by a doctor who was conducting a mental health assessment in Sandwell. During the assessment, the 38-year-old man became violent and assaulted the doctor with a metal crutch, so police were called.

The video circulating on social media shows edited footage of officers who attended but does not show the events which lead up to his restraint. 

The full body worn video of the response shows the man attack the officers with his walking sticks injuring three of them.

Incapacitant spray was used and one officer appears to be using a distraction tactic and a full review of the circumstances will take place to decide whether the use of force was proportionate. 

The man was arrested on suspicion of assault and taken into custody. He was medically examined while in custody and he had not received any injuries. He is currently receiving treatment in a mental health facility.

Three officers sustained various injuries to their arms, heads, face and hands while two officers were treated for the effects of the incapacitant spray. The doctor sustained a minor arm injury.

Head of the force’s Professional Standards Department, Chief Superintendent Chris Todd said: “We do not underestimate the impact this video has on the public’s confidence in policing. On first view, the video is really shocking and we need to understand the full context of what the officers were facing. 

“As well as the IOPC referral, we are consulting with key community members.”