THE FATHER of an autistic boy last week expressed anger at the Metropolitan Police when the force decided to appeal against a Court ruling awarding the boy compensation for an assault by police officers at a swimming pool.
The child, known only as ZH, has severe epilepsy and autism. He was on a school trip to Acton baths in west London and became fixated by the water and stood at the poolside staring into it for around half an hour.
His carers told swimming pool staff that his behaviour was consistent with his condition and that he had to be given time to move away of his own accord. But the manager called the police.
When they tried to take hold him, ZH jumped into the pool. The water was chest high; he was not in danger but he was terrified of any stranger trying to get hold of him.
As police tried to drag him out forcibly the boy struggled and was restrained with handcuffs and leg irons, then put in a cage
Central London County Court heard that the experience exacerbated ZH's epilepsy and he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
In a significant ruling against the Met, the judge Sir Robert Nelson found the force had subjected ZH to inhuman or degrading treatment and to unlawful discrimination because of his disability. He awarded the boy almost £30,000 in damages.
Now the Met is to appeal against this ruling, saying it will affect their operational effectiveness.
ZH's father said: "The thousands of pounds of public money spent by [Metropolitan Police] Commissioner Hogan-Howe defending the indefensible would be much better spent requiring his officers to treat people with disabilities humanely."