Footage of police officers punching and kicking a burglary suspect after he voluntarily surrenders has prompted the force to refer itself to an independent watchdog.

The CCTV video showed three police vehicles from the Lancashire police pulling up behind a man, identified as 34-year-old Adeel Ashraf, who was walking on a pavement in Accrington.

The man puts both hands in the air and kneels on the ground as five officers exit the vehicles and run towards him. The officers then push the suspect the ground and begin punching and kicking him before handcuffing him.

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Another officer is seen holding a police dog back as his colleagues restrain Ashraf.

Ustadh Mohammad Quraishi, a Muslim activist and religious teacher in Blackburn, first posted the video on social media.

He added: "I have now spoken to the eyewitness, the lady who is in the footage watching the police brutality by officers from the Lancashire Police that took place in Accrington.

"Shocked to hear that surrendering victim's head was repeatedly banged against the curb sustaining a bulging head injury," he said, citing the witness. 

Speaking to The Independent, he said that the video "sends the wrong message" to suspects who surrender. 

"It was a shock to see a person who voluntarily surrendered themselves in that manner get beaten up. It sends the wrong message – if you surrender, you'll get beaten up. It should not have been allowed to happen."

Lancashire police confirmed the incident took place on 8 January after they received a report of a burglary around 11am in which a Nissan Juke car was stolen from Blackburn.

The stolen car was later seen and pursued by officers, resulting in Ashraf’s arrest which “is what is seen in the footage which has been widely shared”.

“We appreciate the concern that perceptions of the officer actions in this video have caused and we would like to reassure people that the incident is being fully reviewed by our Professional Standards Department,” said the force.

“In the interests of openness and transparency we are also voluntarily referring the incident to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.”

Ashraf has been charged with “aggravated vehicle taking and dangerous driving” and has been “recalled to prison”, police confirmed.

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