Yorkshire police officer sacked for 'unacceptable behaviour' at homeless shelter

A West Yorkshire Police officer has been sacked after he goaded a man at a homeless shelter, used excessive force on him and then wrote a misleading statement about the incident.

PC James Topp was dismissed from West Yorkshire Police after he was found guilty of gross misconduct

PC James Topp was found guilty of gross misconduct at a hearing today, after the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigated his actions at Bradford Cyrenians on July 3 in 2020.

The investigation found the officer antagonised a man during a verbal altercation, used unnecessary force when he pushed the man to the ground and insulted members of staff.

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PC Topp submitted a misleading statement and claimed he had been assaulted by the man, who was arrested for assaulting an emergency worker and racially aggravated public disorder but later released without charge.

The IOPC said the officer also antagonised the man and two other detainees in a custody suite and made “inappropriate references to physical violence” towards them.

The investigation was launched after two members of staff submitted complaints and the watchdog interviewed witnesses and reviewed CCTV footage and body-worn video footage from attending officers.

Miranda Biddle, IOPC regional director, said: “This officer showed appalling judgement and there was evidence of a clear pattern of unacceptable behaviour on that day.

“Rather than de-escalating the situation, he repeatedly aggravated matters with his actions and unprofessional approach.

“His conduct fell far below the standards expected of a police officer and clearly had the potential to seriously damage public confidence in the police.

“We are grateful to all those who assisted our investigation, which has led to his dismissal and will ensure he cannot work for the police again in future.”