‘Spat at’ officer faces gross misconduct hearing over use of force on detainee
The 25-year career of an officer cleared in court of assaulting a handcuffed suspect who spat in his face hangs in the balance.
Police Constable Paul McVeigh will face a Northumbria Police disciplinary hearing after an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation concluded he had a “case to answer” for gross misconduct in relation to use of force.
PC McVeigh denied intentionally yanking Jack Moore out of a police van and throwing him head-first on to the custody suite floor at Southwick police station in Sunderland, causing him to land on his chin.
A jury at Teesside Crown Court, which saw CCTV and bodycam footage, acquitted the officer over the January 2017 incident.
Nissan worker Mr Moore, who required 15 stitches, later admitted assault and being drunk and disorderly in Washington, Tyne and Wear.
The 48-year-old officer had refuted claims that he had twice attacked Mr Moore.
Kevin Baumber, defending, said the father-of-two – who has worked for the force for 25 years – had not lashed out, kicked or punched the abusive suspect.
The officer had spoken of his disgust at being spat at and said the detainee continued to threaten him as he was brought out of the van, at least 15 minutes after the arrest when he was initially spat on.
After he was cleared by the jury on Monday (February 26), PC McVeigh hugged his wife in the public gallery.
An IOPC investigation into PC McVeigh’s actions was launched following a referral from Northumbria Police.
Speaking after the verdict, IOPC regional director for the North East Miranda Biddle said: “Our investigation reviewed body worn video footage of the incident, as well as taking evidence from PC McVeigh and other witnesses.
“The jury has determined that PC McVeigh’s use of force does not amount to assault. Whether or not PC McVeigh will continue to serve as a Northumbria Police officer will be determined by the disciplinary proceedings.
“Our investigation found that PC McVeigh has a case to answer for gross misconduct in relation to his use of force and Northumbria Police agreed.
“It will now be a matter for Northumbria Police to schedule a gross misconduct hearing to determine what, if any, further action will be taken against this officer.”