Officer sacked for use of force on bike shed burglary suspect

A Hertfordshire Constabulary officer has been dismissed without notice for using excessive force on a man during an arrest in Watford.

Nov 25, 2022
By Paul Jacques

Police Constable Stephen Dalton told the man “it hurts doesn’t it?” after pushing his face against a police car.

Gross misconduct was found proven against the officer at the end of a disciplinary hearing organised by the force.

The hearing was told PC Dalton arrested a man in Wilmington Close on October 4, 2019, following reports of attempted bike shed break-ins.

“The man was pushed against a parked police car, his face struck the vehicle and he was taken to the ground. He was treated in hospital where he was later released without charge,” the hearing heard.

The independently chaired disciplinary panel found the officer was in breach of the police professional standards of behaviour relating to use of force for striking the man’s face against the vehicle; authority, respect and courtesy for saying “it hurts doesn’t it?” when he knew the man was injured; and conduct, for bringing discredit on the police service.

Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) Regional Director Graham Beesley said: “PC Dalton did not demonstrate self-control or professionalism and allowed the incident to escalate.

“Our investigation found the officer had a case to answer for gross misconduct and today a disciplinary panel has concluded the amount of force used was unnecessary and the officer has now lost his job.

“His conduct fell far below the standards expected and clearly had the potential to damage public confidence in the police.”

The IOPC said its four-month investigation began after it received a referral from the force in October 2019, and the man who was arrested during the incident also subsequently made a complaint.

“On conclusion of our inquiries, we passed a file to the Crown Prosecution Service, which authorised a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm,” it added.

“On November 5, 2021, PC Dalton was acquitted by a jury following a trial at St Albans Crown Court.”

During the investigation, the IOPC said it gathered and reviewed CCTV footage, police body-worn video and took statements from police witnesses.

PC Dalton will now be placed on the barred list.

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