Met Police officer fined for assault after manhandling woman on bus

Pc Perry Lathwood, 50, grabbed Jocelyn Agyemang by the arm, causing bruising injuries during the arrest on July 21 last year in Croydon, south London.

Pc Perry Lathwood was fined for assault
Pc Perry Lathwood was fined for assault (James Manning/PA)

A Metropolitan Police officer has been fined £1,500 for assault after manhandling and wrongly arresting a woman for bus fare evasion in front of her young son.

Pc Perry Lathwood, attached to the Metropolitan Police’s Road Traffic Policing Command, grabbed Jocelyn Agyemang by the arm, causing bruising injuries during the arrest on July 21 last year in Whitehorse Road, Croydon, south London.

Ms Agyemang said the incident was “deeply humiliating and embarrassing” and that Lathwood had a “look of contempt in his eyes” that day, in a victim personal statement read out at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

Metropolitan Police constable Perry Lathwood arriving at Westminster Magistrates’ Court
Metropolitan Police constable Perry Lathwood arriving at Westminster Magistrates’ Court (James Manning/PA)

Also in the statement, she said the events had a “devastating effect” on her and her young son who have now both lost confidence in the police service.

Deputy Senior District Judge Tan Ikram sentenced the 50-year-old officer, of Normans Bay, East Sussex, saying: “On this occasion in my judgment the officer crossed the line and got it wrong.

“It was not through bad faith.

“He faced a passenger who I have previously described as difficult and challenging but in my judgment he made a momentary error of judgment as it were in the heat of the moment.”

The judge added that he did not find it was “an abuse of power”, but was instead a “mistake”.

The court heard that Lathwood does not accept the conviction and that he will appeal against it.

On top of the fine, he was ordered to pay £200 to the victim in compensation, £650 in costs and a victim surcharge of £600.

He will have to pay the total £2,950 within 56 days.

Ms Agyemang said in her personal statement: “Pc Lathwood manhandled me in circumstances where it was not warranted, but it was the look of contempt in his eyes as he did so that I find hard to move past.

“His comment that I was a ‘daft cow’ was particularly degrading and I believe he intended it to be degrading.”

“I have lost all confidence in the police service,” she added.

The mother also told of how her son was “scared” during the incident, and “now doesn’t trust the police”.

In Lathwood’s defence, the court was told “there was no harm intended (and) he was trying to do his job”.

Ms Agyemang was dropping her son off at her mother’s house before heading to an appointment in Marylebone scheduled for 12.30pm in July last year.

Police officers were helping ticket inspectors on a bus in Croydon at the time.

After she and her son disembarked the bus at about 11am, she was asked to show she had paid her fare by a bus inspector.

Lathwood previously claimed that he acted to protect Ms Agyemang’s child but this was deemed “fanciful” in the final ruling, with the judge stating the officer’s evidence “lacked all credibility”.

Prosecutor Paul Jarvis told the trial Lathwood put a hand on the woman, but she moved away, so he then grabbed her arm and arrested her for fare evasion.

A crowd gathered, with people filming the officer and asking him why he had arrested her.

Mr Jarvis said Lathwood continued to hold her, demanding she tap her card. He also handcuffed her.

Another officer took her Oyster card from her hand and went away with it to see if she had paid.

It was confirmed that Ms Agyemang had paid her fare and she was de-arrested at the scene.

Following Lathwood’s conviction last month, Met Police Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist said the verdict presented a “huge setback to our ability to rebuild trust with Londoners”.

Rick Prior, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said the group would “fully support” Lathwood in his appeal against the conviction.

Mr Prior said in a statement: “Police officers have no issue with scrutiny and accounting for their actions and use of force, but this has to take into account the reality of our role.

“Colleagues across London remain discouraged, dismayed and disheartened by this case.

“And worried that they too can be handed a criminal conviction for doing the roles the public and society expects of them. For doing their job.”