Police watchdog will investigate football fan baton incident

The police watchdog has begun an investigation into how a 16-year-old was hit by an officer’s baton as trouble flared following a football match.

Footage shared on social media showed the fan bleeding on the pavement with a gashed head, as well as bystanders angrily remonstrating with officers following the flashpoint between rival Barnsley and Sheffield Wednesday fans on Saturday.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct has said it is investigating what happened.

Teenager hit with police baton after football match
Bystanders shouted at police after the teenager was hit over the head (@spencer_bfc/PA)

The announcement followed South Yorkshire Police saying it had referred itself to the organisation.

The watchdog said it wanted to hear from anyone who witnessed the incident around 3.40pm in Midland Street, Barnsley.

Witnesses can email midlandstreet@policeconduct.gov.uk or ring 0800 096 9076.

IOPC Regional Director David Ford said: “We understand why the images that were circulated caused considerable public concern.

“After the footage was shared on social media, a mandatory referral was made to us in relation to the conduct of the officer.

“It is vitally important that the circumstances of the incident are subject to an independent investigation so we can fully understand what happened and impartially determine the facts.

“We have already begun to gather evidence, but would like to speak to anyone who may have witnessed the incident.”

Spencer White, who filmed the incident, said there had been trouble between the two sets of fans after the match, as they both travelled towards the town’s transport interchange.

He started to film the trouble, then the officer hit the youth over the head.

Mr White, also 16, said: “He could have been killed, really.”

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