Boy rammed off bike by armed police who mistook water pistol for a gun | UK | News | EUROtoday

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A 13-year-old boy was rammed off his bike and handcuffed by armed police who mistook his water pistol for a actual weapon.

The teenager was having a water battle with a sibling in Hackney, east London, on July 19. The pair had been mentioned to be squirting one another with pink and white and blue and white water pistols.

An officer on the beat is claimed to have reported the water battle as an “potential firearms incident” to colleagues. The Alliance for Police Accountability (APA) says armed places of work from the Metropolitan and City of London Police attended the scene.

This is, the APA says, regardless of the weapons being “unmistakably” a toy.

The APA slammed the incident as “horrific” and “appalling”. It mentioned: “He was surrounded by armed police officers who pointed their firearms at him and arrested him on suspicion of being in possession of a firearm.

“He was de-arrested at the scene soon afterwards, once his mother had arrived and challenged what was happening, but she too was treated with contempt by the officers when she sought an explanation for their conduct from them.”

The Met Police cleared officers of misconduct during the confusion but a complaint accusing them of racial bias is still being investigated.

Detective Chief Superintendent James Conway, in charge of policing for Hackney and Tower Hamlets, said he had apologised to the family. He said: “This incident was understandably extraordinarily distressing for the boy concerned in addition to the remainder of his household.

“We know it might trigger public concern and we need to assist the general public perceive why we responded in the best way we did. This doesn’t in any means detract from our recognition of the trauma prompted to the boy, for which I apologised quickly afterwards to his household.

“Our officers are dealing with fast-moving situations, based on the limited information provided to them at the time. Such is the nature of the threat from firearms that the College of Policing is clear that officers should treat all firearms as real and loaded until proven otherwise.

“The police have a positive legal obligation under human rights legislation to protect life, which shapes our approach to responding to suspected firearms.”

A City of London Police spokesperson mentioned: “As common practice, a firearms unit from the City of London Police attended in support of Metropolitan Police firearms units at an incident on July 19 2023.”