Body worn video captures ‘shocking’ assault by Met officer during arrest

A former Metropolitan Police officer who punched and kicked a man in a “completely disproportionate” arrest has been jailed.

The man was taken to hospital with a split lip and swelling to the face after he was assaulted by former PC Thomas Karlsen at a home in New Malden in November 2022.

The assault will have “a long lasting impact” on the victim and would have been a “very traumatic experience”, Detective Chief Superintendent Clair Kelland said, as she issued an apology on Tuesday for the actions of the officer.

Karlsen had been called to the home after reports by the occupants of a domestic dispute involving a relative who was staying at the property.

Bodycam footage revealed that Karlsen attempted to detain the man, and while doing so, punched and kicked him as well as using PAVA spray at close proximity.

His actions were “shocking” and “completely disproportionate” to the situation, Ms Kelland, in charge of South West Command Unit, said.

Karlsen arrested the man on suspicion of assaulting an emergency worker and resisting arrest, but after the body worn video was reviewed, he was released from police custody with no further action.

Karlsen was refered to the Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) and then the Independent Office for Police Conduct, which requested a local investigation.

The former PC was interviewed under caution and charged on May 22 with actual bodily harm and was suspended from duty.

Detective Chief Superintendent Clair Kelland, in charge of South West Command Unit, said: “Former PC Karlsen’s actions that day were shocking, and completely disproportionate to the situation he faced.

“I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to the victim.

“It is clear from the body worn video that this would have been a very traumatic experience which will have had a long lasting impact. Officers from our Directorate of Professional Standards continue to offer him every support.

“We have been explicit about the high standards we expect from officers and know that we must maintain these in order to increase the trust that our communities have in us.

“The powers afforded to us must be used fairly and professionally, and it is clear that this was absolutely not the case on this occasion.”

Karlsen, who was attached to the South West Command Unit, appeared at Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday.

He was sentenced to four months in prison suspended for 12 months, a 20 days rehabilitation activity requirement, and an 80 hour Community Order.

He is also required to pay £400 compensation to the victim.

On Tuesday June 27 Karlsen appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court and pleaded guilty to the charge.

A misconduct hearing concluded on Thursday August 3 that, had Karlsen still been serving, he would have been dismissed without notice.

Karlsen resigned from the force in July.

A second male PC who was with Karlsen at the time of the incident will face a misconduct meeting “in due course”, the Met said. He is not subject to any restrictions.