A WATCHDOG is investigating the use of force by an officer who appeared to kneel on a man's head in Westcliff.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is to examine the incident which happened on March 20 in Grosvenor Road, saying it was "concerned" about impact on the public's confidence in the police.

A video of the incident was recorded by a member of the public and was widely shared on social media afterwards.

IOPC investigators said that members of the public had been "alarmed" by the footage, and will review mobile and police body-worn video footage as part of their investigation, following a voluntary referral from Essex Police.

Witness statements will be taken and accounts are to be obtained from the officers involved in the incident.

IOPC regional director Graham Beesley said: “We are aware some members of the public have been alarmed by the footage showing a man being restrained on the ground by an officer and I am concerned about the impact this may have on public confidence in policing.

“Our independent investigation will examine the full circumstances of the incident and whether the officer’s use of force was necessary, reasonable and proportionate.”

Essex Police said a 32-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of drink-driving after a crash.

The man was also arrested on suspicion of driving while disqualified, driving without insurance, possession of a class B drug, using threatening or abusive words or behaviour and assaulting an emergency worker.

The force said the man was taken to hospital and then further arrested on suspicion of public order offences.

He has since been released under investigation.

The force said a police officer reported being assaulted during the incident.

Police said an officer has been placed on restricted duties while the investigation takes place “which is standard procedure in these circumstances”.