Tomlinson family claims whitewash

Blackpool Citizen: Pc Simon Harwood will be sacked after being found guilty of gross misconduct Pc Simon Harwood will be sacked after being found guilty of gross misconduct

Relatives of Ian Tomlinson branded police disciplinary proceedings "a whitewash" today, as it emerged that the constable cleared of killing him will keep his pension despite being sacked.

Simon Harwood, 45, was dismissed without notice after a police disciplinary panel found him guilty of gross misconduct. He hit Mr Tomlinson with a baton and shoved him to the ground on the fringes of the G20 protests in the City of London in April 2009.

The 47-year-old, who was walking away from police lines at the time, managed to stumble 75 yards before he collapsed, and later died from internal injuries.

On Monday the Met panel, sitting in public for the first time, found that former Pc Harwood broke rules over discreditable conduct, use of force, and authority, respect and courtesy.

Chairman of the panel Commander Julian Bennett said: "His actions have discredited the police service and undermined public confidence in it. He has accepted it will be impossible for him to ever again serve as a police officer. We agree, as we consider it inconceivable that he could ever hold a role within the police service again."

He went on: "Whilst we have considered all available outcomes we have no doubt that Pc Harwood is not fit to hold the office of constable, and accordingly he is dismissed from the Metropolitan Police Service with immediate effect."

The panel chose not to consider an allegation that Harwood's actions had inadvertently caused or contributed to Mr Tomlinson's death, sparking a furious reaction from the father-of-nine's relatives.

Speaking outside the police building in west London where the disciplinary hearing took place, his stepson Paul King branded the proceedings "a whitewash". He said: "I think it's pointless, it hasn't proved anything to us. We still haven't got any answer from this. After three-and-a-half years, I think it's diabolical. It's like we're back at day one."

The family is taking civil action over Mr Tomlinson's death.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Maxine de Brunner said that the force had already offered the relatives a sum of money. She revealed that Harwood can keep his police pension, but said that it was "certainly worth debating" whether the rules should be changed. She said: "Simon Harwood will retain his pension when he reaches pensionable age. I'm unable to remove his pension because he has not been convicted of a criminal offence.""

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