Police officers sacked for unfair treatment of man with autism

A police officer from Bedford has today been sacked for committing gross misconduct when dealing with a young autistic man.

Thursday, 7th April 2016, 3:02 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th April 2016, 3:06 pm

PC Christopher Pitts, 39, and a colleague chased vulnerable Faruk Ali and detained him.

A misconduct hearing found both officers breached standards of professional behaviour around honesty, integrity, authority, respect and discreditable conduct.

Police bosses have now apologised to Mr Ali and his family on behalf of the force.

Christopher Thomas (left) and Christopher Pitts (right) have been sacked for gross misconduct

PC Pitts (pictured right) and his colleague PC Christopher Thomas pursued Mr Ali in February 2014 after he was seen running away from them in Bury Park, Luton.

The constables, who were both suspended after the incident, had been on patrol at the time in their roles in the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Roads Policing Unit.

Both officers were charged through the criminal courts, but were acquitted of the charges after a crown court trial in 2014.

The internal police misconduct hearing took place in Wyboston and lasted eight days.

Christopher Thomas (left) and Christopher Pitts (right) have been sacked for gross misconduct

Breaches of Standards of Professional Behaviour were upheld, but other breaches which included confidentiality and challenging and reporting improper conduct were not upheld.

PC Thomas was also found to have breached equality and diversity in relation to Mr Ali’s disability, but cleared of breaching standards in relation to use of force.

Deputy Chief Constable Mark Collins said: “Firstly I would like to apologise on behalf of the force to Faruk Ali and his family for the distress this incident has caused them.

“We are committed to supporting vulnerable people which is a priority for this organisation and I see excellent examples on a daily basis where we provide that support to the most vulnerable in our society.

“However, on this occasion the two officers’ conduct has fallen well below any standard that is acceptable in policing and they have now paid the ultimate sanction in losing their jobs.

“This should send a very clear message to police officers that this type of behaviour is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. It also demonstrates how committed we are to tackling unprofessional behaviour which has no place at Bedfordshire Police. I’m sure officers across the force, and indeed the country, will share my disappointment at the actions of PCs Thomas and Pitts and the damaging impact it will have on confidence in policing.

Mr Collins added: “We are committed to rebuilding that trust and confidence and will continue to work hard with our communities in order to protect people and fight crime.

“We appreciate this has been a long process for all those involved but it was only right that every aspect of this case was thoroughly investigated and scrutinised in a transparent manner and I would like to thank people for their patience.”