A police officer has been dismissed after hitting a vulnerable teenage girl with a baton “at least 30 times”, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has said.
Metropolitan Police officer Benjamin Kemp, based at north-east command, was dismissed without notice following a disciplinary hearing by the IOPC.
During the hearing, the panel heard that in May 2019, a 17-year-old girl, who has learning disabilities, had run away from a group on an escorted walk in Newham after becoming distressed.
The girl was close to a main road and concerned members of the public called the police. The girl also flagged down a passing police car.
After the teenager told officers that she was a vulnerable child with mental health problems, she agreed to get in the police car, but later got out.
The IOPC said PC Kemp attempted to handcuff the teenager, but when this was unsuccessful, he used CS spray less than a metre from her face. “Within seconds he started using his baton and then struck her several times,” it said.
When another police unit arrived, the girl was immediately Tasered by an officer from that vehicle, and she was struck several times more with the baton by PC Kemp, handcuffed and put into a police van.
In total, the teenager was struck at least 30 times, the IOPC said.
An investigation followed after a complaint was made by NHS workers and the mother of the teenager, who is from east London.
The watchdog noted that the girl was black, but there was no indication that racial discrimination played a factor in the case.
IOPC regional director Sal Naseem said the force used by police “would be shocking to most people”.
He added: “The disciplinary panel also found PC Kemp had behaved in a manner which lacked self-control and did not take into account the vulnerable status of the teenager, who appeared very frightened.
The IOPC said the six-month investigation found the officer who used the Taser “had no case to answer for use of force”, but there was a case for misconduct and he received “management action” in August last year.
It said the officer had shown a lack of respect to the girl and her carer, who later arrived at the scene.
Ch Supt Richard Tucker, borough commander of Waltham Forest and Newham, said the use of force by PC Kemp was “utterly inappropriate”.
He said: “He overreacted, used excessive force in a very disproportionate manner, and was unprofessional. For that he has been held to account, and has been rightly dismissed from the service.
“I can assure you his actions are not representative of how we deal with situations like this in Newham and across London.
“On behalf of the Met, I apologise to the young woman and her family for how he behaved and to London’s wider communities for the impact this case undoubtedly has on the trust and confidence they have in how we police London.
“They and the people of London rightly expect the highest standards from their officers, and on that day PC Kemp let everyone down.”