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Day: March 19, 2012

Italian student wins settlement from the Met for illegal arrest

Just when is minding your own business causing “harassment, alarm and distress”? Well if you are a PCSO who is a bit bored and wants to arrest someone then apparently it is what happened to Italian student Simona Bonomo in 2009 when she was filming buildings and was confronted by two PCSO’s using anti-terror legislation and didn’t like the fact she didn’t roll over to have her belly rubbed.

They claimed to have powers they did not have but who cares about that? They are PCSO’s and they have a uniform so they can do whatever they want. So they departed and brought back other police officers who arrested her for being aggressive. They made one crucial error though. They forgot that the student was filming the entire encounter and they didn’t erase her camera whilst she was locked up. Therefore she had all the evidence necessary to proof she was not being aggressive and certainly didn’t cause ‘harassment, alarm and distress’ to the officers. The only distress they got was the fact they had to make something up to arrest her.

Now I’m not going to rag on PCSO or the police as a whole. The vast majority are good people but there will always be some bad eggs who treat the public with contempt and if they don’t get their fix of adrenaline in the form of an arrest they will go looking for one. Sadly that is just the way it is. We just have to hope that when one of these officers are in one of those moods that we aren’t in the vicinity.

The problem I have is that despite all the evidence (and lets be honest here – a video of the whole incident is pretty rock solid evidence) the Met Police tried to Stonewall the case and still wouldn’t accept liability or even apologise for the incident. They are backing their guys to the hilt in spite of the evidence which actually saw the case against her thrown out of court.

That is what bugs me the most. It is clear that they acted horrifically towards the student who was perfectly within her rights. The PCSO did not know his rights and actually claimed to have rights he did not have but still the Met are happy with everything.

Do the Met suffer from Arsene Wenger disease where none of their officers can do any wrong?

These stories crop up far too much and when the force can’t even offer a basic apology then you know there is something afoot. Yet people still wonder why some people have a wary attitude of police officers. When the bad eggs get through and are protected by the so called good eggs then what hope do we have?

For the full story with video from The Guardian please click here

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