CONTROVERSIAL footage of the police arrest of a suspected car thief - where several blows are apparently landed on the prone man - has led to an independent watchdog being called in.

A video clip of the arrest, in Lonsdale Street, Accrington, involving five officers and a dog handler, has been widely circulated on social media.

Lancashire Police has now issued a statement confirming that the incident is being reviewed by their own professional standards department.

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The drama unfolds as an officer runs towards the suspect with what appears to be pepper spray. The CCTV then seems to show one officer put a knee in his back and then more officers subdue the suspect. 

The incident has also been voluntarily referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

It is understood that the affair began at around 11am on January 8, when police responded to reports of a stolen Nissan Juke from a home in Blackburn.

Later officers spotted the vehicle in the Church area and followed the car to Lonsdale Street, where a stinger was deployed to bring the Nissan to a halt.

Then a man left the car, according to police, and the footage shows what happened during the arrest from a camera which appears to have been installed at a nearby home.

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A Lancashire Police spokesman said: "We appreciate the concern that perceptions of the officer actions in this video have caused and we would like to reassure people that that incident is being fully reviewed by our professional standards department.

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

Police have also confirmed that a 34-year-old man, Adeel Ashraf, of Belfield Road, Accrington, has been charged with aggravated vehicle taking and dangerous driving in relation to the same incident. He has also been recalled to prison.

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