London

G20 death Pc faces gross misconduct disciplinary action

Ian Tomlinson filmed as he was apparently pushed to the ground
Image caption Ian Tomlinson was pushed to the ground as he made his way home from work

The officer who struck Ian Tomlinson before his death at the G20 protests will face disciplinary proceedings for alleged gross misconduct.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson informed the Home Affairs Committee on Tuesday morning.

He said the force should move "swiftly with proceedings".

In a statement, Mr Tomlinson's family said there was an "overwhelming argument" for the proceedings to be held in public.

Last week, the director of public prosecutions said there would be no criminal proceedings over Mr Tomlinson's death.

Pc Simon Harwood, a member of Scotland Yard's territorial support group, was filmed striking the 47-year-old newspaper seller with his baton and pushing him to the ground in the City of London on 1 April 2009.

Sir Paul told a meeting of the Commons Home Affairs Committee he was "disturbed" by the amateur video footage showing the incident.

"I do fully understand the Tomlinson family and public sense of anger having seen the video of the incident prior to the death of Ian Tomlinson," he said.

"I can confirm that the officer has been notified that a decision has been made to bring disciplinary proceedings for gross misconduct."

A statement from Mr Tomlinson's family said: "There is an overwhelming argument in this case that the proceedings should be held in public.

"The family will be looking carefully at what the charges are, the timing of proceedings and whether they are open to the public."

Mr Tomlinson's stepson Paul King questioned whether prosecutors could reconsider charges at the end of the inquest

He asked: "If the officer faces disciplinary charges now, does that mean he could get away with not facing charges for the death of our dad if there is an unlawful killing verdict at the inquest?"

'Shadow' cast

Sir Paul Stephenson added: "It is right we move swiftly and it is also right that there is full public disclosure at the inquest."

The Met commissioner said it would be "entirely inappropriate" to comment on the decision by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) last Thursday not to prosecute.

He said the incident had "cast a shadow" on the professionalism of the overwhelming number of staff and officers involved in policing the G20 event.

Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer said there was no realistic prospect of a conviction following a 15-month inquiry because of irreconcilable differences between medical experts.

Mr Tomlinson's family has instructed its legal team to review the decision ahead of an inquest into the death.

On Monday, Attorney General Dominic Grieve said it was "profoundly unsatisfactory" that "a conflict of evidence" led to no charges over Ian Tomlinson's death.

Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) temporary chairman Len Jackson said: "We are pleased the Metropolitan Police has responded quickly to the file of evidence we provided them with on Friday.

"We will examine the proposed course of action before agreeing how this should proceed and respond as swiftly as possible."

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