POLICE are being investigated after controversial footage emerged a suspected car thief being arrested.

The arrest was captured on CCTV and appears to show several blows being delivered on the 34-year-old man.

A police officer ran towards the suspect with what looks to be pepper spray. The video then seems to show one officer put a knee on the man's back, following by more police restraining the suspect.

The video of the arrest, in Lonsdale Street, Accrington, involving five officers and a dog handler, was widely circulated on social media.

Shortly after, the independent police watchdog was called in by Lancashire Police — the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

The group will be investigating the conduct of the officers involved in the incident, which took place at around 2pm on January 8.

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

Lancashire Telegraph:

“After the footage was shared on social media, a voluntary referral was made to us in relation to the conduct of two of the arresting officers.

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

The watchdog is now appealing for witnesses, with Ms Rowe adding: “We have already begun to gather evidence, but would like to speak to anyone who may have witnessed the incident.”

It is understood that the affair began at around 11am on January 8, when police responded to reports of a stolen Nissan Juke from a home in Blackburn.

Later officers spotted the vehicle in the Church area and followed the car to Lonsdale Street, where a stinger was deployed to bring the Nissan to a halt.

Then a man left the car, according to police, and the footage shows what happened during the arrest from a camera which appears to have been installed at a nearby home.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Just after the footage emerged, a Lancashire Police spokesman said: "We appreciate the concern that perceptions of the officer actions in this video have caused and we would like to reassure people that that incident is being fully reviewed by our professional standards department.

Police have also confirmed that a 34-year-old man, Adeel Ashraf, of Belfield Road, Accrington, has been charged with aggravated vehicle taking and dangerous driving in relation to the same incident. He has also been recalled to prison.

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