Met Police agrees payout to injured student hit on head by baton at protest

The Metropolitan Police has apologised and agreed to pay a settlement to a man who suffered a brain injury after being struck on the head by a police baton during protests 13 years ago.

Alfie Meadows, then a 20-year-old philosophy student, was injured on December 9 2010 during a protest against tuition fees hikes.

He was charged with violent disorder and faced three trials before being unanimously acquitted in March 2022 at London’s Woolwich Crown Court.

In a statement on Friday, the Metropolitan Police stated that “unjustified” force had been used against Mr Meadows, who was “protesting peacefully”.

Alfie Meadows court case
Protests were held outside court in support of Alfie Meadows as he faced violent disorder charges (Steve Parsons/PA)

The force said it had apologised to him in June and settled a civil action following a claim he made in August 2020, but the officer who struck Mr Meadows has not been identified and “held to account for their actions”.

It is believed the settlement, which has not been disclosed, may run to six figures.

Mr Meadows told Channel 4 News: “It felt like a process that was never going to end. It felt like I was on trial the whole time, that I was being punished for the crime of surviving this police assault.

“I’ve just been so aware of how I’ve been treated and how the police have been failed to be held to account.”

He added: “I don’t think it will make up for the pain I suffered at the time and the serious impact it has had on my life and my mental health over the last decade.

“All of the years I’ve lost fighting for truth and accountability and coming up against denial, blame and attempts to criminalise me.”

Alfie Meadows court case
The injuries suffered by Mr Meadows (Justice Alfie Meadows/PA)

On Friday, a police spokesman said Mr Meadows suffered “very serious injuries” during the 2010 demonstration.

He added: “Although the situation in Parliament Square was chaotic and threatening, we acknowledge that Mr Meadows was protesting peacefully and the use of force against him was unjustified.

“Between 2010 and 2019, a number of investigations and proceedings took place including criminal proceedings, independent investigations by the then-IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Commission), and a misconduct hearing. None were able to identify the officer in question.

“We sincerely regret, despite extensive CCTV and witness inquiries, the officer who struck Mr Meadows did not come forward, could not be identified and has not been held to account for their actions.

“We have apologised to Mr Meadows for this.”

He added that since 2010 the force has introduced body-worn cameras and improved self-defence training for officers in an effort to help prevent such an incident ever occurring again.