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Cop who used police's new tactic of ramming moped thug off road faces criminal probe

The officer is being probed after carrying out a so-called "tactical combat" to deliberately stop a 17-year-old who was riding dangerously in Erith, south-east London, in November last year.

The teenager, who was not wearing a helmet at the time, was taken to hospital with serious head injuries and fractures but was later discharged.

He later pleaded guilty to five offences at the youth court, including theft, dangerous driving, and driving without a licence.

Police watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which is investigating the incident, is due to submit a file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and to Scotland Yard.

If the IOPC recommends a prosecution, it would then be up to CPS bosses to decide whether or not to press charges against the officer, which could include actual bodily harm and grievous bodily harm.

The Met would also make a decision on whether the matter amounted to a misconduct allegation, which could result in the officer leaving the force.

It comes amid divided political opinion over the controversial use of "tactical combat".

It was introduced after a spike in moped crime and has already helped cut it by a third in a year.

Dramatic footage released last month showed Scotland Yard’s "Scorpion" pursuit teams hitting mopeds and sending suspects sprawling over car bonnets and flying across the tarmac.

So far this year officers have knocked suspects off mopeds or scooters 63 times.

Senior officers defended the tactic, saying it was needed to stop dangerous chases and has helped reduce moped-enabled crime in London by over a third.

The manoeuvre has also been backed by Prime Minister Theresa May.

But Labour has raised concerns about the approach, which shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said was "potentially very dangerous".

There were 12,192 thefts on mopeds from January to October 2017, falling to 8,261 this year.

Scotland Yard said moped crime can happen "at any time of the day or night", with some criminals stealing up to 30 phones in an hour.

Victims are often targeted as they come out of Tube stations or transport hubs.

The new policy prompted questions over protection for cops if a suspect is seriously injured in a stop.

Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, feared officers using the tactic could be risking their "livelihood and liberty".

The IOPC is also investigating a second tactical contact case involving another Metropolitan Police officer, which featured an adult moped rider in Ealing, west London, in March.

The second case is not a criminal investigation.

COPS TAKE CAUTION: THE HENRY HICKS CASE

Hicks was just 18 when he died in a moped crash while fleeing from cops.

Two unmarked police cars were going at speeds over 50mph when Hicks came off his moped in Islington, north London in December 2014.

He smashed into a minicab and died from blunt force trauma to the head.

Seven bags of skunk cannabis were found in Hicks' possession, along with a number of mobile phones.

Although four officers were ultimately cleared of gross misconduct, Hicks' death triggered a review into the Met's pursuit policies.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick later denied the force had a "no pursuit" policy as a result.

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