A uniformed police officer was caught on film pushing her foot down on the stomach of a rough sleeper as she appeared to try to unzip him from his sleeping bag.

Greater Manchester Police said the officer’s actions outside Manchester Town Hall last September “fell below the standard we expect”.

The force said it had since provided the officer with refresher training.

Charity Crisis said it was “concerned” by the incident, adding rough sleepers needed to be respected by police officers.

The video first shows the police officer pulling the man by his sleeping bag as she tells him, “I told you”. She then struggles with him as she appears to attempt to open the zip to his bag before pushing down her foot on his stomach and shouting, “Stop it”.

The footage showed at least two other uniformed police officers at the scene.

The man, said to be a refugee from Sudan, told the BBC he was left injured and went to hospital after the incident but has since recovered.

He said: “I was telling her I need to sleep. But she stamped on my stomach with her foot.”

The man claimed he had woken from his sleep outside the town hall and, after being told to move on, had said there was nowhere to go.

Crisis chief executive Matt Downie said: “It’s distressing to see people experience this kind of treatment.

“Such incidents serve to traumatise and stigmatise those of us forced to sleep on the streets. We are concerned that incidents like this could become more common and urge the Westminster government to work with police forces to ensure officers are getting the right training to support people in need.” 

A spokesperson for Greater Manchester Police said: “Greater Manchester Police was first made aware of this concerning video in around September last year.

“The officer’s behaviour fell below the standard we expect, especially concerning respect for all community members, and the officer’s actions were dealt with.

“The superintendent responsible for the city centre discussed the incident with the officer and clarified that her actions were unacceptable and must not be repeated.

“She, along with other employees, received refresher training on how to deal with similar situations in the future.”

Last week, figures released by The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities revealed the number of people counted rough sleeping across England had risen by 27 per cent in autumn last year, compared to the previous year.

In Greater Manchester, 149 people were counted rough sleeping.

Reacting to the figure, Fran Darlington-Pollack, chief executive of the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity, said urgent changes were needed to end “the avoidable homelessness created with current asylum processes”.