SHOCKING footage of an arrest appears to show a police officer kneeling on a man’s neck or head before punching him in the street.

The video, taken in Grosvenor Road, Westcliff, shows multiple officers arresting a man with onlookers accusing police of being “heavy handed”.

It comes after criticism of the police handing the Sarah Everard vigil and the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in America.

Police initially attended the scene, on Saturday, after reports of a car crash before a man was arrested for a string of offences and police also say a incident an officer reported being assaulted.

A 32-year-old has been arrested on suspicion of a host of driving offences as well as assaulting an emergency worker and using threatening or abusive language.

The video, shared widely on social media, appears to show a man already handcuffed being restrained against a car.

He appears to lunge at an officer before being bundled to the floor and the officer allegedly knelt on his neck or head.

After watching the video, Sam Adams, 55, member of the Southend Stand Up To Racism group, said: “It makes for quite shocking viewing. The response and treatment does not match the threat from this man, as it seems to me from the video there was none.

“Despite this he is put to the floor and they do not need to kneel on him and punch him like that. He was restrained and was not posing any threat at that point.”

She also claimed there were enough police to restrain him without force.


She added: “Officers are still kneeling on people despite all we know abut the dangers of this. “The police are trained to restrain people in a way that does not harm them.”

Outcry followed the Sarah Everard vigil when officers handcuffed women and removed them from the gathering in London on March 13.

Jordan Conaty, 26, from Southend shared the video and said the issue needs urgent attention.

He said: “He’s obviously being combative verbally but I couldn’t see any sign of him lashing out and realistically if he did they could’ve brought him to the floor.

“He lost control of himself and he took it out on a detainee.”

The resident also raised concerns that other officers at the scene were “preoccupied with stopping people filming, rather than the incident”, although footage showed an officer offer his police identification to the man filming.

Martin Terry, Independent councillor for community safety said there must be a balance between police doing their job and using too much force.

He said: “There are times when police need to be robust but I do not condone any unnecessary violence.

“It’s ironic it comes around the time an officer was injured while carrying out their daily duties. “It’s a complex issue and police put their lives at risk for the community each day.”

Following the incident an officer involved has been placed on reduced duties and the force has referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

A spokesman for Essex Police said: "We are aware of a video circulating on social media.
Officers received calls from members of the public following a collision in Grosvenor Road, Westcliff at around 5.40pm on 20 March.

"When they arrived they spoke to a 32 year-old man who was arrested on suspicion of drink driving; driving while disqualified; driving without insurance; possession of a Class B drug; using threatening or abusive words or behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress; assaulting an emergency worker.

"During the incident an officer reported being assaulted. During his period of detention the arrested man was taken to hospital, during which time he was further arrested on suspicion of public order offences. He was later discharged and returned to police custody where he was interviewed.  

"He has been released under investigation. We voluntarily referred the matter to the Independent Office for Police Conduct this morning. An officer has been placed on restricted duties whilst the investigation takes place which is standard procedure in these circumstances.

"Essex Police has rigorous oversight of the use of force by officers to ensure it is used appropriately and so we can continue to learn and improve.

"This allows us to scrutinise each incident, to learn from them and to ensure that both officers and public are protected.

"Essex Police has been rated as ‘good’ at treating the public with fairness and respect by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), the independent body which regularly assesses forces."

Contact Essex Police on 101 with information.