- PC Christopher Thomas and PC Christopher Pitts have both lost their jobs
- Said to have spotted autistic Faruk Ali outside his home while on patrol
- PC Thomas said to have grabbed Mr Ali, punched him and detained him
- Pair were found not guilty of misconduct in a public office in criminal trial
- But both were both sacked today without notice following police hearing
7 APRIL 2016 | UPDATED: 7 APRIL 2016 | BY EUAN MCLELLAND FOR MAILONLINE
Two police officers accused of chasing down and attacking an autistic man have been sacked for gross misconduct.
PC Christopher Thomas and PC Christopher Pitts were said to have spotted Faruk Ali, who has autism, outside his home in Luton, Bedfordshire, in 2014 while on patrol.
The two Bedfordshire police officers then pursued Mr Ali in their vehicle after he was seen running away from them.
PC Thomas, from Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, is then said to have got out of the car and grabbed Mr Ali, before – according to his family – punching him in the face and detaining him.
Both officers were found to have breached professional standards and PC Thomas was also found to have breached equality and diversity in relation to the man’s disability.
After a criminal trial in December 2014, the pair were found not guilty of misconduct in a public office, while PC Thomas was also cleared of racially aggravated assault over the incident.
But following an eight day police misconduct hearing in Bedford, Bedfordshire, both were today sacked from the force without notice.
Deputy Chief Constable Mark Collins said: ‘Firstly I would like to apologise on behalf of the force to Faruk Ali and his family for the distress this incident has caused them.
‘We are committed to supporting vulnerable people which is a priority for this organisation and I see excellent examples on a daily basis where we provide that support to the most vulnerable in our society.
‘However, on this occasion the two officers’ conduct has fallen well below any standard that is acceptable in policing and they have now paid the ultimate sanction in losing their jobs.
‘This should send a very clear message to police officers that this type of behaviour is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. It also demonstrates how committed we are to tackling unprofessional behaviour which has no place at Bedfordshire Police.
‘I’m sure officers across the force, and indeed the country, will share my disappointment at the actions of PCs Thomas and Pitts and the damaging impact it will have on confidence in policing.
‘We are committed to rebuilding that trust and confidence and will continue to work hard with our communities in order to protect people and fight crime.
‘We appreciate this has been a long process for all those involved but it was only right that every aspect of this case was thoroughly investigated and scrutinised in a transparent manner and I would like to thank people for their patience.’
Mr Ali’s brother insisted the dismissal was the right verdict in a case the family have been battling for years.
Kodor Ali said: ‘It has been a long time coming, we have been fighting the case for the last two years.
‘It was the right verdict, the evidence was damning.
‘It was quite clear, what they were saying in their statements and what was in the evidence was miles apart.
‘It was blatant they were trying to a make a story up to account for their actions.
‘We would like to thank everyone who has supported us throughout the case as without that we wouldn’t have achieved what we did today.’
One of the pieces of evidence aired during the misconduct hearing was in-car footage from the officers’ vehicle, in which both PC Thomas and PC Pitts can be heard laughing.
Kodor said he still believes the footage should be released to the media and made public.
He added: ‘This footage has already been played twice but for the sake of transparency I think it should be available to the public at large.
‘We are speaking to our legal advisors, we will probably push for that.’
Tom Purser, a spokesman for the National Autistic Society said the case had been a deeply disturbing one.
Mr Purser said: ‘This has been a deeply concerning case and we’re pleased that the Deputy Chief Constable has apologised to Faruk and his family for the extreme distress caused by the actions of his officers in 2014.
‘A traumatic experience like this will have had a lasting effect on Faruk and the Ali family, so it’s important that there have been consequences for the officers involved.
‘Over one in 100 people are on the autism spectrum and, when they are overwhelmed and anxious, their actions can be misinterpreted and situations involving the police can escalate.
‘At the National Autistic Society we believe this case has shown again how vital it is that the police and other criminal justice personnel have autism training.’