The Independent Police Complaints Commission has launched their own investigation into the accusation police officers used excessive force against Warwick University students during a protest last month.
Warwick Students for Free Education were staging a peaceful process against rising tuition fees and higher university management wages on 3 December last year when police were called to a university building. University officials insist the police were called after an assault on a security officer - and not to deal forcibly with the protesting students.
However, video footage shows an officer pulling a Taser and using CS spray on the crowd.
Helena Dunnett-Orridge told The Guardian students were peacefully discussing an earlier demonstration when police appeared in the reception area of Senate House.
She said: "They pushed people to the ground and grabbed a girl by the throat using her scarf. They also used CS spray in my friend’s face and had Tasers. They started physically pushing and carrying people out. They dragged me out with them."
At the time, West Midland police posted on Twitter to insist the Taser had not been fired but deployed as “an audible and visible warning". They said they will not comment while the investigation continued.
Three people were arrested at the time, one on suspicion of assault and two on suspicion of obstructing a police officer. In a statement, a spokesperson for the University of Warwick insisted security staff had been victim to a “shocking and unprovoked act of violence”, prompting the institution to
Following the 10 individual complaints from students, the IPCC investigation will examine allegations officers assaulted students and whether CS spray was used “repeatedly in a dangerous and excessive manner”. The IPCC will also examine the alleged assault of the university security guard.
Lochlinn Parker, of the law firm Deighton Pierce Glynn Solicitors, who is representing the students, said: “It is relatively rare for the IPCC to launch an independent investigation, when you consider that the overwhelming majority of complaints are investigated by the local police force. This step is encouraging and a recognition of the seriousness of the allegations.”