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Officer who twice punched handcuffed detainee being restrained by four colleagues in final written warning


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Gross misconduct ruling but officer 'clearly provoked' by violent man, hearing told.

Officer who twice punched handcuffed detainee being restrained by four colleagues in final written warning

 

Date - 2nd July 2019
By - Nick Hudson - Police Oracle
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An officer who was injured when a “violent” detainee kicked him in the groin retaliated by punching the restrained man twice in the face, a disciplinary panel heard.

The blows were exchanged while PC Gary Hamilton was helping to escort the handcuffed man who had been arrested and was on his way to the custody suite at Charing Cross police station in London.

The detainee, who was being restrained by four officers when he lashed out, sustained a cut to the face and a bloody nose as a result of PC Hamilton’s punches. The officer required medical treatment.

Following the November 2017 incident, an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct – which ended in August last year – concluded the Met officer had a case to answer for gross misconduct over the "unjustified" level of force he used.

A file was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service who decided to take no further action but the Met agreed PC Hamilton should face a misconduct hearing.

The panel decided that all allegations that the officer breached standards of professional behaviour in respect of discreditable conduct, use of force and authority, respect and courtesy were proven.

But taking into consideration mitigating factors including “clear provocation” affecting the officer’s judgment, the panel gave PC Hamilton a final written warning for his gross misconduct actions.

IOPC regional director Sal Naseem said: “The man had previously been behaving in a violent manner and so a number of officers were in attendance and escorting him to the cell.

“The man aimed a kick at PC Hamilton and in response PC Hamilton struck him twice in the face.

“We concluded PC Hamilton struck the man in a situation where it could be deemed as unnecessary as he had been secured by four other officers.

“The independent panel has agreed this was a serious breach of professional standards and issued PC Hamilton with a final written warning.”

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If he was found to have committed gross misconduct, why wasn't he charged with assault?

The implications of this seem to have been missed and are far reaching.  Essentially what it is saying that police can be found to be defending themselves lawfully, but still potentially still lose their job over it.

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Not really enough detail here to form an opinion to be honest. Given that CPS clearly don't consider the officer's actions unlawful, I think the Met ought to explain in a little more detail why they felt it necessary to put this officer through the mill. 

It says the offender was already 'secured' when the blows were delivered however, that doesn't really say enough does it? One person's interpretation of 'secure' may differ from another's, it's all a little subjective. Just because somebody is handcuffed that doesn't necessarily mean they're secure or incapable of causing injury, as this officer found out to his cost by the sounds of it.

Look at all the fuss that was kicked up in relation to the Delbo King incident in GMP for example. The media had a field day as the CCTV made the officer look like a thug, but when the full facts emerged during investigation he was in fact fully justified in his actions and no action was ever taken against him if I remember correctly. 

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