Police watchdog called in to investigate alleged attack on young Sheffield Wednesday fan
A police watchdog has been called in to investigate after a young Sheffield Wednesday fan was struck over the head by an officer.
A video showing the 16-year-old being hit with a baton following the Owls’ game at Barnsley on Saturday has been widely shared online, with many viewers condemning the officer’s actions.
South Yorkshire Police has now confirmed that the incident has been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
Assistant Chief Constable Lauren Poultney said: “We understand the public will have concerns about the content of a video circulating on social media, with a 16-year-old suffering injuries to his head.
“South Yorkshire Police has referred this matter to the Independent Office for Police Conduct and we are waiting for their decision as to how this is progressed.
“As part of the investigation into the wider disorder following the football match on Saturday, February 8, a full review of all available footage will be undertaken.
“The clip circulating on social media shows only a very brief period of time, and in order to understand the full context of the situation, we would ask anyone who was a witness or has further footage of what took place to contact us on 0114 201 1599, quoting incident 232 of February 8.
“Until a decision is received from the IOPC, we will not be making any further comment.”
The force previously said the 16-year-old and a police officer who was assaulted, sustaining injuries to his stomach and head, had both been taken to hospital after officers responded to disorder outside the transport interchange.
It added that a 47-year-old man arrested on suspicion of assaulting an emergency services worker had been released under investigation.
The Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, said officers had been faced with ‘extreme violence’ that day from a ‘sizeable minority of individuals’ and claimed the short video didn’t necessarily show the full context.
Sheffield Heeley MP Louise Haigh, who is Labour’s shadow policing minister, said an independent investigation was needed to ‘uphold public confidence’, given the ‘deep public concern’ caused by the incident.