Dementia sufferer, 91, was ‘handcuffed with spit hood placed over her head’ by police after disturbance with her carer – as probe is launched into the ‘shocking’ incident
- The woman was then strapped down onto a stretcher and taken to hospital
A 91-year-old dementia sufferer was reportedly handcuffed with a spit hood placed over her head by Metropolitan police officers following a disturbance with her carer.
The elderly and frail woman was then said to have been strapped down onto a stretcher with a mask covering her face before she was carted off from her home in Peckham, South London, in a police van to hospital.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct has now launched a probe into the ‘shocking’ incident during which neighbours were alarmed by ‘crying and screaming’ from distressed woman.
One officer has been suspended and banned from using a Taser after the ‘heavy-handed detention’ was reviewed by the police force, The Sun reported last night.
Five other police officers are on restricted desk duties and are unable to have any contact with the public while the ‘heavy-handed’ confrontation, which allegedly left the pensioner with cuts and bruises, is investigated further.
A 91-year-old dementia sufferer was handcuffed with a spit hood placed over her head by Metropolitan police officers following a disturbance with her carer. Pictured: File photo of a man wearing a spit hood
The incident took place in Peckham, South London on May 9, where the elderly and frail woman was allegedly strapped down onto a stretcher before being carted off to hospital in a police van. Stock image
The Met police had been called to the block of flats on May 9 following disruption between the woman and her carer.
The elderly woman, described as thin and small, is said to have panicked and began ranting at police. She also threw cups of coffee at officers, the paper reported.
She was later handcuffed with a hood chucked over her head, before one of the officers grabbed a Taser and turned on the gun’s aim dot. The Taser was not released onto the mother-of-three, however.
One neighbour told The Sun: ‘I could hear her crying and screaming.
‘I looked out my window and could see they had her strapped down on a stretcher – it was awful.
‘There were two police cars and a van – you would think with all those people they would be able to manage it without tying her down.’
The unnamed source added that the woman had lived in the flat for many years and her mental health had deteriorated over the last decade.
MailOnline has contacted the Metropolitan Police for comment.
Former Met commander John O’Connor said that the treatment of the old woman by the officers was ‘beyond comprehension’ and said it should have been dealt with my medical professionals ‘who knew what they were doing’.
One officer has been suspended while the other five are on restricted desk duties. Pictured: File photo of Metropolitan Police officers
He added: ‘It is absolutely shocking. The officers could easily have killed her with this heavy-handed treatment.
‘This was a very aggressive way to treat a 91-year-old woman who was clearly very distressed.’
While the IOPC is now aware of the incident, the police force reportedly took more than a week to notify the public body.
A spokesman for the IOPC told MailOnline: ‘We can confirm we are investigating the force used by Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) officers after they detained a 91-year-old woman in Peckham earlier this month.
‘On May 9, officers attended an address in SE15 following a reported disturbance. We understand a woman was restrained, handcuffed and had a spit hood applied. A Taser was deployed but not discharged and the woman was taken to hospital.
‘On May 17 the force made a voluntarily conduct referral to us and we began an independent investigation, which is at an early stage.
‘We have also received a public complaint concerning the level of force that was used and the injuries it is alleged the woman sustained, including cuts and bruising on both her wrists and one arm.
‘We have been in touch with the woman’s family to explain our role.’
The Met Police told The Sun that one officer had been suspended and their use of Taser withdrawn following an ‘initial assessment’ of the incident.
‘A further five officers have been placed on restricted duties, meaning they will have no contact with the public, while the incident is investigated.
‘The woman’s family are aware of the incident.
‘Police are in contact with them and arranged for a family member to view body-worn video of the incident,’ the statement added.
Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley (pictured May 5) has written to health and social care services to say police will no longer attend after August 31 unless there is a threat to life
Revelations of the incident come as the Met Police yesterday announced plans that will stop officers from attending mental health incidents.
The force’s commissioner Sir Mark Rowley has written to health and social care services to say police will no longer attend emergency calls related to mental health after August 31 unless there is a threat to life.
The plans have sparked alarm with critics warning that for those suffering there would be ‘no one left to call’.
Questions have also been raised about whether the plans will prove practical on the ground.
Former Inspector of Constabulary Zoe Billingham, who is also chairwoman of NHS mental health services in Norfolk and Suffolk, said that the change was ‘potentially alarming’.
‘I think it would be really, really dangerous if the police were just to unilaterally withdraw from attending mental health crisis calls right now,’ she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
A Met spokesperson said that the force needed to ‘redress the imbalance of responsibility’, noting the considerable amount of time taken up by such incidents.
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