Lying Surrey officer dismissed without notice
A Surrey Police officer who lied to investigators from the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) about an assault carried out by a fellow officer has been dismissed without notice following a misconduct hearing.
Police Constable Stephen Walters was found to have breached professional standards of behaviour by failing to act with honesty and integrity.
The misconduct hearing heard that PC Walters provided statements to Surrey Police and the IOPC about an incident in Epsom in September 2017 in which he said he did not see an assault take place, but heard what sounded like a single strike being delivered by his colleague, PC Matthew Fitzgibbon.
PC Fitzgibbon was later charged with assault, found guilty, and subsequently dismissed from Surrey Police in January 2019.
PC Walters was due to give evidence at the officer’s trial on January 4, 2019, but did not attend due to ill-health.
Ten days after the trial, PC Walters disclosed to a colleague that he had in fact seen PC Fitzgibbon deliver about six strikes and had even attempted to shield the man from being struck further.
The officer he spoke to noted the conversation in his pocketbook and later alerted a superior.
IOPC Regional Director Sarah Green said: “PC Walters deliberately underplayed what he saw on the night of September 17, 2017, when he was witness to a member of the public being assaulted by a police officer.
“He continued to do so throughout our investigation into this assault. Thankfully, other Surrey Police officers provided truthful accounts of the incident and had the courage of their conviction to do so at a trial.
“It is vital that the public have the utmost confidence that police officers act with honesty and integrity, particular when providing accounts of potentially criminal behaviour either by members of the public or their colleagues.”