A Kent Police officer has been given a written warning after misconduct was proven, following an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation.
Police Constable William Russell faced a hearing – held by Kent Police – for a breach of the police standards of professional behaviour after he slapped a detainee three times and made a derogatory comment while the man was in handcuffs and had his head covered with a spit hood.
In February 2019, the man was arrested after assaulting a member of the public and three police officers and causing criminal damage. He was waiting for treatment at a hospital in Margate after swallowing an unknown substance while in custody when PC Russell moved towards him, applied a spit hood and slapped his face three times.
During the IOPC investigation, which concluded in July 2019, there was a review of other officers’ body-worn video, witness statements were taken from them and the relevant national and local police policies and guidelines were studied.
The IOPC provided its report to the Crown Prosecution Service which found there was a case to answer for a criminal prosecution.
PC Russell was acquitted following a subsequent trial at Brighton Magistrates’ Court in December.
Following the conclusion of the criminal proceedings, Kent Police arranged PC Russell’s gross misconduct hearing, which began on April 27 via video-link.
Prior to the hearing father-of-three PC Russell accepted his conduct fell below the standards of professional behaviour and amounted to misconduct in relation to two of the slaps and the derogatory comment.
The two other allegations of unjustified/excessive use of force for applying the spit hood and for the third slap were not proven.
IOPC Regional Director for London and the South East, Sarah Green, said: “While there are occasions when the use of force is required, police officers are entrusted with the power to do so only if it is reasonable and proportionate in the circumstances.
“Our investigation – which included examining body-worn footage from other officers at the scene – gave a clear insight as to what happened in the Margate hospital in February 2019. We examined the other officers’ behaviour during this incident and felt they used reasonable force when dealing with a violent and aggressive detainee.
“While PC Russell was acquitted at the criminal trial, Kent Police agreed the officer should face a gross misconduct hearing, and their panel has come to its decision.
“The community entrusts police to use the powers they have responsibly and appropriately. Most officers do so, but when this doesn’t occur, it’s important there is independent oversight and accountability, and any lessons to be learnt are identified.”
The offender attacked police officers, assaulted a shop worker and spat in people faces, the police officer should have given him a lot more than a couple of gentle slaps. Violent criminals are vicious thugs and need to be treated appropriately. Treating violent criminals with kid gloves needs to stop. Perhaps when criminals are afraid of the law they might start respecting it.
Well said concerned.
Really Concerned. An officer displays this kind of behaviour and you say he should have given the arrested person much more. Treating violence with violence is not acceptable.
How do we know it happened I was not there… None of us saw what he did or the officer.
If I was his colleague I would report him because you can’t slap anyone in the face regardless of what may or may not happen.
Violent behaviour is not tolerated from anyone.
One day, perhaps you might be confronted by some spitting biting lunatic! I hope it never happens to me.
Bravo PC Russell, carry on with your method of arresting Cretins.
Well said Robster. Ms Hooper obviously not in real world. As for reporting a colleague, would not like to be working with your likes by my side!!
Why is it a violent criminal can abuse anyone people minding their own business and 3 police officers injured doing their duty being kicked and spat at and while still in cuffs and awaiting treatment spitting and having to have a spit hood put over his head and face to protect nursing staff and police from possible illness from his spit get the chance to complain about an officer slapping him on his face. And to top it all the officer is reprimand for his actions this is wrong criminal people should be treated more like in the old days if you were doing something silly they gave you a clip around the ear then your dad gave you one as well for getting caught and another for doing it. All police officers are just the same as any of us but wear a uniform and protect us as best as they can. 3 of his colleagues were injured by this person if he slapped him it wouldn’t be very hard and I think he showed great restraint in only slapping him. Criminals get away with to much nowadays and it is unfair on the police to stay as calm as they do they are human and all have feelings as we have I know if I was in the same situation I would have done at least the same the courts acquitted the officer then the iopc found him guilty its an ass how can courts say not guilty then a lesser group of do gooders say that he is reprimanded no come on how can a police officer feel when he gets no backing. No wonder Kent police have not fined many during this lock down when treated like this. You have my backing officers all of you. You do a great job under great pressure from all corners and those who should be backing you. Thanks.
How ridiculous this was ever taken to court, treat
like with like, the only language these out of control thugs understand.. That police officer showed extreme restraint as I know that if it had happened to me (a few years ago now!) I would have knocked his head from his shoulders. How are our police able to do their jobs when they cannot touch violent offenders because some namby pamby do-gooder trots out thr human rights bull-shit for these wasters?
Carry on Mr. Policeman, most of us are right behind you.
We are told the police in the UK police by consent of the public, well this member of the public is very happy for the police to give yobs and low life’s as many slaps as they need. What I would like to know is this officer was found not guilty in court but Kent police have made this public. Dater protection act goes out of the window. The yob ends up laughing all the way to his next yobish action. Disgraceful.
Well said Ann. PC at Kent Police letting down Officers to appease do gooders.
My what a lot of THUGS AND CRIMINALS WE HAVE TO PUT UP WITH IN THANET, IT CAN NEVER BE AGREED THAT THIS THUGGISH POLICE OFFICER WHO WAS CORRECTLY REPORTED FOR HIS VIOLENCE WAS OBVIOUSLY OBSERVED BY NOT ONLY OTHER OFFICERS AND HE SHOULD HAVE WALKED NOT THUMPED OR SLAPPED OR AS WITNESSED MYSELF REFUSING TO ASSIST AN UNDER ARREST YOUNG LAD IN A&E WHO HAD BOTH HANDS BANDAGED AND WAS PHYSICALLY UNABLE TO UNDO HIS FLY THE TWO FOUND IT VERY AMUSING AND ONLY CEASED WHEN SOMEONE HAD REPORTED THEM AND A NURSE CAME TO HELP, THINK ON IT COULD BE YOU IN THAT SITUATION, WRONGLY ACCUSED POINT BEING AS IN THE RUSSELL CASE HE HAPPILY DID HIS SLAPPING JUST LIKE USUAL BUT FORGOT HE WAS WITH OTHERS WHO DO CARE ABOUT THE POLICE CRIMINALS IN OUR COUNTRY AS WELL AS 300,000+ CONVICTED CHILD SEX OFFENDERS IN UK COMUNITIES.DATA PROTECTION MEANS NIL FOR THOSE WHO HAVE ACCESS ILLEGALLY TO IT! FOR EXAMPLE CRIMESTOPPERS IS NEVER ANON AS EXPOSED RECENTLY COOKIES GET ALL DATA WHICH THEY DENY ALONG WITH VOICE RECOGNITION TAPES OF CALLS SO DO NOT BELIEVE ALL YOU HEAR UNLESS THERE TO SEE IT YOURSELF.
Thugs are thugs, whether they’re wearing a uniform or not.
The police are not like ordinary people! They have a duty of care towards everyone, including when someone is acting like a thug! I always carry a victim identifier made with water soluble paint, that can be squirted into someone’s face harmlessly, but temporarily blinding them! They are perfectly legal, and perhaps if the police officer was dealing with someone who was spitting, and resisting arrest, a squirt in the face with one of these, may just have had the right affect! I have had to threaten to use my identifier on thugs on three separate occasions, and each time they backed off!
The way the thugs treat the please these days is disgusting! They should be allowed to retaliate. Perhaps they would not be so keen to assault the police then.
Replying to Dumpton, good on you I would love to have one if they are available to buy or do you make the mix.Come to think of it, many young ladies out on early duties nursing etc would no doubt feel a little safer with it.As you say those few crucial moments to take them off guard can let you get to safety if reasoning has no reaction.A few years ago I was behind a young guy in Ramsgate side street,he stopped pulled a can out of bag tipped fluid over himself then I smelt petrol,ran up as he was striking a large matchbox,I asked if he had a dog. Knowing many service men&women do,he was in army uniform, it was enough to distract him and I took his matches & hugged him,poor lad,got help via COMBAT STRESS
Well done Sandra, in fact it was a female friend at the time, who found the “Victim Identifier” On Line for me, as she said I was very vulnerable, after I received some abuse from two young neighbours! On another occasion I stopped a young thug from trying to snatch a baby from a pram, when the mother was hysterical! They cost about £8.00 and are small cans, so can easily be kept in a pocket. I bought another one, and keep one permanently in a coat pocket, and another by the front door! They have a range of about 3 meters!