Met policeman guilty of assaulting crime victim in east London he mistook for suspect

A serving Met policeman has been found guilty of assaulting an East London shopkeeper who was wrongly arrested after calling police to report a crime.

PC Jonathan Marsh, attached to the East Area Command Unit, was convicted of assault at City of London Magistrates’ Court on Monday January 29.

He will be sentenced at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 29 February.

The court heard, on the evening of November 13 2022, PC Marsh and colleagues were called to a report of criminal damage on Atlanta Boulevard in Romford.

On arrival, PC Marsh mistook the complainant for the suspect despite him telling the officers he had called them.

PC Marsh, from Canvey Island in Essex, attempted to place him in handcuffs before taking him to ground and punching him on the head.

The victim was handcuffed and taken to a police van; during this time, it was alleged PC Marsh continued to shout and swear at the victim.

The man was subsequently identified as the complainant, and was de-arrested at the scene.

The incident was referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct which carried out an independent investigation, leading to PC Marsh being charged.

Chief Superintendent Stuart Bell, in charge of policing in East Area, said: "All police officers know they will be held to account for any use of force, and any use of force must be reasonable.

"On this occasion, PC Marsh went beyond the level of force necessary and it is right that he has to face the criminal consequences of his actions."

PC Marsh is currently on restricted duties but not the court case is over he will face the Met's misconduct process.

IOPC regional director Charmaine Arbouin said: “Police officers may only use force when it is necessary, proportionate, and reasonable in the circumstances.

“There was no policing purpose or justification for the officer to strike the man, who posed no genuine risk.

“The shopkeeper was a law-abiding member of the public who had called the police to report a crime when he became a victim of mistaken identity.

“We appreciate cases of mistaken identity can happen, however Pc Marsh made no attempt to establish the facts and the situation escalated quickly when he immediately used unnecessary force on the man who posed no threat to him or his colleague.

“Now Pc Marsh has a conviction against his name.”