'Majority' of police carry blades on duty, officer tells court
PUBLISHED: 10:55 25 July 2018
A policeman accused of smashing and sawing through a suspect’s car windscreen claimed that “the majority” of response officers carry their own bladed tools on duty, a court has heard.
Joshua Savage, 28, allegedly attacked Leon Fontana’s Ford Fiesta with a baton before cutting the glass with a lock knife on September 16 2016, Southwark Crown Court heard.
The Metropolitan Police officer, who was said to be carrying a Swiss Army Knife with a locking blade which he bought himself, denies possessing it unlawfully.
He claims his job requires a “cutting implement” for acts such as slicing seat belts off trapped passengers in emergency situations.
On Tuesday, the court heard Savage subsequently told an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) interviewer: “You supplement your own issue kit with stuff that’s necessary.
“The majority of officers on response teams will carry them along with torches ... not necessarily that same model, but Leathermans and things.”
He was asked: “So you’re saying that the majority of officers on response have got that kind of multi-tool then?”
Savage replied: “Yes or similar.
“I realise it wouldn’t be legal for me to carry it off-duty but I had it with me at work and I had a good reason for having it.”
The incident, at around 5.25pm, on Vicar’s Road in Camden escalated after police mistakenly thought the driver was a potentially violent drug dealer who may have a weapon, the court has heard.
On Monday, prosecutor Jonathan Polnay said: “You might think it not unfair to say that he comes across in that clip as a bully in uniform.”
Mr Fontana told the jury that during the ordeal he felt “threatened” and “scared” by Savage’s actions. He also denied being intentionally obstructive by locking himself in his car. He has two previous convictions in 2013 for obstructing a police officer.
Savage, of Hermon Hill, Wanstead, is charged with possessing a bladed article, common assault and destroying property.
He has been placed on restricted duties by the Metropolitan Police and entered not guilty pleas in May.
Savage is on unconditional bail and will appear before the court again on Wednesday.
Additional reporting by the Press Association.