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What is this and can it sting ? Found in a back garden in London
This is one of the rove beetles (in the family Staphylinidae). It is a species of Platydracus, probably Platydracus stercorarius. August is its peak month as an adult.
Good info, including distribution map near the end of the page
One of many other pages with photos of it
There are similar species, eg. Platydracus flavopunctatus and Othius punctulatus, but P. stercorarius seems to be a good match to your specimen.
"Rove beetles can’t sting, but the larger ones can inflict a nasty bite if mishandled."