By Darren Boyle ￼
West Midlands Police has apologised for the behaviour of one of its officers who appeared in a viral video challenging a man who was on his way to work.
The video of the incident which unfolded outside Dorridge railway station, Solihull, on Wednesday has been watched more than a million times since it was posted on Twitter.
In it, a male officer threatens to arrest the man when he refuses to provide his name and calls him an idiot.
Moment police stop man after brief exchange about Coronavirus laws
Under the current Covid rules, people are allowed to travel for work if they cannot reasonably work from home.
The man filmed what unfolded over two-and-a-half minutes, before his phone was apparently seized at the end of the video, as he was detained.
As the footage begins, a male uniformed officer accompanied with a female colleague can be seen in a marked patrol car, on the street outside the station.
The officer then asks the man, who is a few feet away: ‘What you up to?’
‘I’m on my way to work, mate,’ replies the male, with the officer then saying: ‘You’re going to work – do you live round here, where do you live?’
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When the male gives the officer a street name, the officer says: ‘What’s your name, buddy?’ with the man replying ‘don’t worry about that’.
The officer then asks: ‘What do you mean don’t worry about it?
‘We’re here to enforce legislation, mate, so I need to know who you are.’
The man says: ‘You don’t need to know who I am – I haven’t committed an offence.’
‘Do you want to turn your body-cam on?’ he adds.
The police officer replies: ‘Yeah, if you want me to – but we’ll be dealing with this in a different manner now.’
The officer then gets out of his patrol car, followed by his female colleague, telling the male: ‘Right then, under coronavirus legislation you have to provide me with some details, otherwise you’re going to be arrested.’
He adds: ‘So if you fail me to provide me with some details, you’re going to be arrested mate.’
As the incident continues, the male says: ‘I’m going to get locked up for what? You’ve just pulled up on me, ask me for my name – I live round here.’
The officer replies he does not know the male lives locally and is ‘arguing’, adding: ‘So, that gives me reasonable suspicion that you’re telling me lies.’
The male says: ‘You’re obviously just harassing me.
‘Because I’ve got a hoodie on, I’ve got a coat on, I’m on my way to work, I’m a normal citizen.
‘Why would I allow someone to just pull me over?’
The officer then replies: ‘We’re the police, we’re not just someone, you idiot.’
The male adds: ‘What, so just because you’re the police, that gives you the right to stop anyone you want and get their details?
‘You need to be reinformed about the law.’
The police officer then detains the male, putting him in the back of the police car, adding: ‘We’ll sort this out at the station – you’re going to be late for work.’
In a statement, the force said: ‘We’ve reviewed video footage of one of our officers challenging a man near Dorridge train station, Solihull, yesterday morning.
‘It’s clear that the officer’s conduct fell far below what we would expect.
‘The officer was with a colleague on patrol and part of their duties was ensuring people are adhering to Covid restrictions.
‘The man explained he was heading to work – that’s clearly a justifiable reason to be out and about and there was no suspicion he had committed any offences.
‘As such, he should not have been challenged in the way he was.’
The force’s chief constable Sir David Thompson has continued to state, throughout the pandemic, that officers will use the four E’s regarding the Covid regulations; engage with the public, explain the regulations, encourage people to follow them, and where there is no alternative, enforce.