Met officer headbutted barman as police ‘flouted rule of six’ in drinks binge

Pc Luke Wilson, 28, squared up to Johnny White at the Be At One cocktail bar when staff complained about off-duty police officers flouting the rule of six on a team-bonding evening.

Westminster magistrates’ court heard officers flashed their warrant cards when arriving at the bar, while others told staff to “lighten up” when they were told to abide by the Covid regulations.

Wilson, a police officer with the Met since 2015, headbutted Mr White when the manager challenged the group for moving around and having more than six sitting together at one table.

The Pc claimed self-defence, but District Judge Briony Clarke dismissed his evidence as “not honest or credible” and suggested Wilson’s police colleagues had been breaking the rules.


The officer is facing the end of his police career, and he will be sentenced later this month.

Pc Luke Wilson, 28, squared up to Johnny White at the Be At One cocktail bar when staff complained about off-duty police officers flouting the rule of six

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The court heard Be At One staff at the bar in King William Street, Monument, braced themselves for a large group on July 2 last year when they received a series of bookings for tables of six.

Mr White said he thought off-duty officers flashing their warrant cards was “inappropriate” but he allowed the group to enter on the condition they stick to their allocated tables.

“As the night progressed, they started acting like the normal general public, switching places, switching seats to be with friends,” he said. “I was shocked by the behaviour — we spent quite a lot of the night running around the venue, asking people to return to their seats.”

The officers — from the Lewisham emergency response team — told the bar staff: “Lighten up, what’s wrong with you? We are trying to have a good time.”

Matters came to a head when a bottle of prosecco was ordered with eight glasses, and Mr White asked some officers to move to comply with the rule of six. Officers disputed they were breaking the rules, and Mr White was then confronted by Wilson.

The bar manager said: “He squared up to me, literally head-to-head. I remained calm. My colleague radioed security to make them aware, and then it was a strike on my head with his head.”

Mr White said the bar had been closed for more than a year, staff had been furloughed and made redundant, and they reopened with “extreme restrictions”.

Pc Luke Wilson outside court


“As much as I want people to have a good time and socialise, we had to comply with the regulations,” he said.

“When we found out we had a large amount of police officers, we joked that this should be pretty easy. It ended up being the worst day of my hospitality career. I was shocked and have lost trust, especially in the Met.”

An acting inspector and at least four sergeants were on the night out, in a group of between 20 and 25 officers.

Sergeant Ryan Snadden conceded that White “would have had concerns” as the CCTV footage shows more than six people sitting together. “We were fully aware of the rules at the time, and had every intention to stick to them,” he said.

Finding Wilson guilty, the judge said it is “clear” from the CCTV footage that the officers were not sticking to the instruction to sit in tables of six or less.

She concluded Wilson “was the aggressor — he got into his face and headbutted him”.

Wilson, from Gravesend, denied but was convicted of assault by beating. He was freed on bail.

Mr White said he has made a complaint to the Independent Office for Police Conduct about the behaviour of officers that night. The Met Police confirmed it has received a complaint which is being assessed.

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