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The police watchdog is investigating after the body of a man was pulled from a London river on Thursday following a run-in with Met officers the previous evening.

Officers had been patrolling the River Lea towpath in Tottenham on bicycles on at 9.15pm on Wednesday and approached a group of males.

While one was arrested, two made off by bike and were chased by police also on bikes. The two suspects are understood to have entered the river at Ferry Lane a few minutes later.

One of the two males was later pulled out by officers, but the second male could not be found, the Met said.

Specialist marine policing teams searched for the missing male for several hours during a night of heavy rainfall. A police helicopter was also deployed.

The body was eventually found just before 10am on Thursday.

The Independent Office for Police Complaints (IOPC) is now investigating how the two individuals came to be in the water and said it has taken initial statements from the officers involved.

It now wants to speak with anyone who may have witnessed or filmed any part of the incident.

IOPC regional director Sal Naseem said: “We have begun to gather evidence including initial accounts from the officers involved and their body-worn video. We would like to hear from anyone who was in Tottenham Hale around the river tow path, specifically at Tottenham lock 17 on Ferry Lane, N17 at around 9:15pm last night, and may have witnessed any police interaction with the males.”

Commander Paul Brogden said: “I fully recognize the concern this incident will cause among members of the local community. The matter was referred by our Directorate of Professional Standards to the Independent Office for Police Conduct who have confirmed that they are independently investigating this tragic incident, and how the males came to be in the water. Our thoughts are with the family of the deceased male and we will do everything we can to support the IOPC investigation.”

The Met said the two males that were detained were arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon and were held in North London police station overnight.

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