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Special Constable dismissed

A Special Constable has been dismissed following a report that he assaulted two neighbours while off duty.

The Special, who had an anonymity application upheld at his misconduct hearing, accepted a Community Resolution Order following the altercation with members of a group who he had gathered with on a driveway in Northamptonshire on 5 April 2020.

Police had been called to the gathering, which had taken place during a national pandemic and spoke to those in attendance.

It is alleged that the Special Constable assaulted two of the group after police had left. The officer was offered and accepted a disposal of a Community Resolution Order (CRO) by apologising to the two victims.

Chief Constable Garry Forsyth dismissed the officer without notice after finding he had breached professional standards for Authority, Respect and Courtesy; and Discreditable Conduct following an accelerated hearing on 27 January 2021

CC Garry Forsyth’s full written determination:

Finding

The fact that there is a signed CRO document accepting responsibility for two clearly listed common assaults is beyond doubt and I believe that this was a calculated and clear decision by person A following legal representation. Any shortcomings in this process is a matter for person A, his legal representative and Northamptonshire police. I note to date that no challenge has been initiated in this regard despite this being signed by person A on 6 April, over ten months ago.

Aside from this, on the balance of probabilities I find the common assaults proven in their own right. Whilst there is contradictory witness testimony and disputed evidence between parties, the clear and compelling evidence afforded by the Body worn video shows a demeanour and aggressive pre-disposition of person A which inclines me to favour the weight of the evidence in support of the injured parties to the common assaults.

Turning now to the body worn video which is a clear and undisputed version of events, and as mentioned is a compelling piece of evidence in this case. Even if I had not found the common assaults to amount to gross misconduct then the evidence of the initial interaction with the officers along with what is at best a questionable interpretation of the Public Health Regulations at the time, are clear breaches of the Standards of Conduct; and Authority, Respect and Courtesy, that are so serious they amount to gross misconduct.

I find that the conduct is proven and I find that the conduct amounts to gross misconduct.

Outcome

Before I continue with the outcome I want to note the impressive contribution made by person A since 2013, and the regard in which they are held by members of the force. Aside from anything else today I wish to thank him for his voluntary service and his commitment and effort to the force over the years.

I know that person A states this was an isolated and individual occurrence and he should be afforded an opportunity to learn and move on. I very much support the ethos and the spirit of learning in the conduct arena but it is fundamentally important that these conduct regulations perform their primary function which is the maintenance of public trust and confidence in the service. That is where I find myself today.

The public rightly have very high standards for the conduct of police officers and where those standards are breached to such a serious level, protection of public confidence can only be achieved realistically through the dismissal in the absence of strong and compelling mitigation.

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