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Police officers under investigation after football fan cleared of assault at Walsall game

Two police officers are under investigation for gross misconduct over their use of force on a football fan who was attending a Walsall game.

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Two police officers are under investigation

Barrow fan Edward Papas claims he was assaulted by officers after the match between his team and Walsall at the Bescot Stadium on March 4 last year. He said the assault happened when he was walking back to his car under escort with away fans.

Mr Papas was himself arrested on suspicion of assaulting a club steward and PC Richard Mannox after an exchange of words but was cleared after a trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court in January this year.

Judge Jonathan Gosling described the officer's behaviour as 'disgraceful and said his actions and inflammatory language used in front of the away fans had left much to be desired, despite the difficulties of the job.

Mr Mannox made a complaint about two police officers after the case and an investigation has begun by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

A West Midlands Police spokesman said: "Notices have been served advising the officers, who are both constables, that their conduct is being investigated at the level of gross misconduct, and they will be interviewed in due course.

"The serving of notices does not mean that proceedings will necessarily follow.

IOPC regional director Derrick Campbell said: “Footage from the incident has been circulated in the media and a thorough investigation is being carried out into the officers’ use of force, and also complaints that police withheld evidence from the criminal case against Mr Papas.

“We have spoken to them about our work and will continue to provide regular updates. At the end of our investigation we will decide whether the officers have a case to answer in respect of the conduct allegations.”

IOPC investigators have reviewed police body-worn footage and CCTV footage of the incident as part of their enquiries.

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