Five Metropolitan Police officers face a criminal investigation after a man who was setting his clothes on fire was pepper sprayed. 

The man, aged in his mid-50s, became unconscious and was left in a critical condition after being restrained and pepper sprayed. 

On April 3 police responded to reports that the man was behaving erratically and setting fire to his clothes in Euston Road, Camden.

Officers took him to a medical facility to be assessed and while there the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said he became agitated. 

PAVA spray was used and a number of officers restrained him, the IOPC said. 

After he became unconscious he received medical attention and was in a critical but stable condition. 

He was discharged from hospital in May.   

The IOPC said five police constables are under criminal investigation for the potential offence of common assault. 

Some of those officers are also being investigated for further potential offences including inflicting grievous bodily harm and non-fatal suffocation.   

All five officers have been advised they are also being investigated for gross misconduct while three further officers are also being investigated for potential misconduct. 

IOPC director Steve Noonan said: “We have been in contact with the man to inform him of our investigation.  

“The serving of criminal or conduct notices on officers does not necessarily mean that criminal charges or disciplinary proceedings will follow. It’s important that we continue to carry out an independent and thorough investigation to establish the full circumstances surrounding this incident.  

“Following our investigation, we will decide whether to refer the matter to the Crown Prosecution Service to make a charging decision and whether disciplinary proceedings are required.”