Actions of police officer who was 'kicked in head' by teenager during arrest were legitimate, review finds, following 'trial by social media'

No further action will be taken against a police officer who was attacked while arresting a 17-year-old in Scarborough town centre after an internal review found his conduct was "legitimate".

An internal review from North Yorkshire Police's Professional Standards Department found the officers' actions were "legitimate".

The officer was shown in widely-shared mobile phone footage restraining the teenager, who repeatedly kicked him and a colleague in the head.

The snapshot clip of the event went viral on social media and had racked up 1.1 million views on TikTok alone before later being removed.

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The officer and his colleague had arrested the teenager, who cannot be named due to his age, and were assaulted after responding to a report of a 17-year-old boy missing from home.

He admitted two counts of assaulting an emergency service worker.

North Yorkshire Police also revealed that during the same shift the officer who was attacked, and three others, went on to save the life of a man who had collapsed a few hours later by performing CPR.

Doctors confirmed that without their fast actions, the man may have died.

The 17-year-old received a conditional caution and was ordered to attend substance abuse sessions when the case was heard by a Youth Outcome Panel. He was also made to apologise in writing to the officers he assaulted.

An internal review from North Yorkshire Police's Professional Standards Department found the officers' actions were "legitimate".

The incident happened on the pavement outside a shop on Eastborough on September 3 at 9.10pm.

After the footage was widely circulated online, North Yorkshire Police launched an internal review of the incident.

Scarborough’s senior commander, Superintendent Rachel Wood, said: "This sequence of events highlights what an incredibly challenging job policing is, but also what an incredible difference officers can, and do, make.

"This officer was also assaulted while arresting a violent offender. Following this, he and a colleague were then publicly lambasted based on a few seconds of video showing part of that arrest.

"This footage went viral after it was posted on social media, used by media websites and covered by newspapers. Sadly, it seemed to present the victims as the perpetrators, and the perpetrator as the victim.

"It did not show the context of the arrest or the whole incident, including two of my officers being kicked in the head by the person they had to detain."

Superintendent Wood said an internal review had found the way officers detained the teenager was "legitimate" and that the youth admitted attacking them and has been cautioned.

"Both officers involved and their families have been deeply affected by this assault and the subsequent ‘trial by media and social media’," Superintendent Wood said.

“It speaks volumes about these officers and British policing in general when officers face public criticism, hostility and even physical abuse, then come back to work the next day to continue to dutifully serve their communities.

“I’m proud of their resilience and hope that highlighting this incident gives the public a better understanding of the challenges police officers are faced with when keeping everyone safe."

North Yorkshire Police said the Independent Office for Police Conduct was made aware of the matter but determined it did not need to carry out an investigation.

The IOPC oversees the police complaints system in England and Wales. They set the standards by which the police should handle complaints and investigate the most serious matters.

North Yorkshire Police’s Professional Standards Department reviewed the mobile phone footage and additional CCTV footage from Scarborough Borough Council.

The Professional Standards Department found that the social media clip showed only a snapshot of the event from just one angle, and that additional footage showed the teenager kicking both officers in the head, which he later admitted and apologised for.

It said that while the use of force during arrests can seem alarming, it was so important to understand the full context and be able to see the actions of the person being restrained.

It concluded that no further action was taken against any officer involved and the decision and the additional CCTV footage were shared with the IOPC for transparency.