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Police chief defends officer over video showing 14-year-old girl being struck in face during arrest

The officer appears to hit the teenager using an open palm in the footage. Police chiefs say the officer used 'reasonable force'

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Police officer strikes 14-year-old girl in the face during an arrest

An investigation has been launched after a video showing a police officer striking a 14-year-old girl in the face during an arrest surfaced online.

The officer appears to hit the teenager using an open palm in the footage. Police chiefs say the officer used 'reasonable force'.

"This involved the use of an open hand strike when a 14-year-old female attempted to grab the officer's Taser and radio," a statement added.

Police said a group of youths 'turned on' them as they tried to restore order following reports of fighting.

A girl, 14, and a woman, 52, were arrested on suspicion of assaulting police after the incident in Accrington on Monday afternoon.

The teenager has since been interviewed and referred to a youth offending team. The 52-year-old has been given a police caution.

Two officers required hospital treatment for cuts to their arms and heads, Lancashire Police said.

The force said the video ‘may appear concerning’, but said all officers are fully-trained in restraint techniques.

In the footage, officers can be seen struggling to control the girl. One of them is then seen to strike the girl’s head with an open palm.

A woman bystander can be heard shouting ‘get off her’.

Extra officers later arrive to hold crowds back, before while the teenager is handcuffed and the footage cuts out.

Lancashire Police said a full investigation will be launched into the incident.

In a statement, the force said: “We are aware of a video circulating on social media which shows a young woman being restrained by officers in Accrington town centre.

“As a result of this incident, one officer sustained a bite wound to her arm and another suffered a cut to his head.

“They have both attended hospital for treatment.

“A 14-year-old girl and a 52-year-old woman have been arrested on suspicion of assaulting a police officer and are currently in custody.

“We understand this footage may appear concerning, however, officers are trained to use restraint techniques which may look shocking to untrained onlookers.

“A full investigation into the circumstances surrounding this incident will take place in due course.”

A statement on Tuesday morning added: "At around 5.45pm [on Monday], police officers were flagged down by a member of the public who reported that a large group of youths were fighting at the Market Hall on Peel Street, Accrington.

"The officers attended straight away and when they arrived, the group turned on them.

"As the officers dealt with the incident, they used reasonable force to bring the situation under control. This involved the use of an open hand strike when a 14-year-old female attempted to grab the officer's taser and radio.

"She was arrested on suspicion of assaulting a police officer. She has been interviewed and has since been referred to the youth offending team.

Chief Constable Andy Rhodes said: "I am aware of the mobile phone footage of this incident and have reviewed it personally.

"My officers have responded as a result of a concerned member of the public and have been met by a very hostile situation. As they've brought the situation under control, officers have been assaulted and have received medical treatment as a result.

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"It is very easy to judge from the sidelines without the full facts when you've never been in a similar situation yourself. These are your police officers and they are here to keep you safe.

"They do not come to work to be assaulted and they have my full support. Perhaps those filming the incident may have better used their time helping the officers to calm the sitatuion."