Police probe after alleged attack on Autistic man

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An Autistic man was allegedly injured by police officers who mistook him for a robber as he put his bins out in Whitby Road.

Now the family of Faruk Ali are holding a community meeting in Bury Park tomorrow to discuss what they call “a savage attack”.

Beds, Cambs and Herts Professional Standards Department have launched an investigation into the incident which will be supervised by police watchdog the IPCC.

Kodor Ali, Faruk’s brother, said: “The police said they thought he was going to rob the house. That’s the only explanation given. Every Thursday, Faruk would wake up early to take the bins out for collection and would help the bin man to bring them back to the neighbours’ doorstep. He has been doing this for a number of years and all the neighbours are very well aware of his kind, innocent and friendly nature. I don’t understand how this character could be mistaken for a person who is trying to rob a house.”

Husna Begum, Mr Ali’s sister, said she was awoken by banging noises and the sound of Faruk screaming ‘no’ on the morning of February 20.

She said she jumped out of bed and saw a man dragging him across the floor and punching him which she says neighbours also witnessed.

Mr Ali has a moderate learning disability and is Autistic.

A Bedfordshire Police spokesperson said: “Bedfordshire Police is sorry for the distress Mr Ali and his family feel regarding the actions officers took due to their concerns for Mr Ali’s wellbeing on February 20.

“This incident is being taken seriously and an investigation has been launched. A senior officer from Luton Police Station has spoken with the Ali family directly to reassure them their concerns are being fully addressed. They will be continually and fully updated as the facts of what happened are established.

“Bedfordshire Police is aware that concerns from the wider community have also been made and will form part of the investigation. Anyone who witnessed the incident is asked to contact 101 in confidence.”

The spokesperson said all front line officers receive Disability Awareness training in order to assist them when interacting with vulnerable people.

Any findings from this investigation will be incorporated into the on-going development of officers and a review of the wider safeguarding measures available to the family is also underway with other statutory care providers and partner organisations.

The two officers involved have been placed on restricted duties whilst the investigation takes place.

The community meeting will take place at Bury Park Community Centre in Dunstable Road at 6.30pm and will be chaired by Cllr Naseem Ayub, a member of Luton Borough Council’s executive committee.