Officer convicted of common assault 

A British Transport Police (BTP) constable has been found guilty of assaulting a man with a Taser. 

Apr 24, 2019
By Website Editor

Another officer was cleared of the same charge at Birmingham Magistrates Court on Tuesday (April 23). 

Police Constables Andrew Spiby and John Severns had both denied common assault. 

PC Spiby was convicted following a two-day trial.

The verdicts follow an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC)  investigation  into an incident on May 28 last year when two men were arrested after the BTP officers were called to reports of a disturbance involving a group of people on a Derby railway station platform. 

PC Spiby used a Taser on one of the men, who also had incapacitant spray used on him twice by PC Severns. 

IOPC Regional Director Derrick Campbell said: “This was a serious incident which was witnessed by onlookers, including several young people. Police are entitled to use force but only if it is necessary, reasonable and proportionate in the circumstances.  

“The public have to have confidence that officers willconductthemselves appropriately and in this case the court took the view that PC Spiby did not do so.” 

BTP referred the case to the IOPC in July after the man involved complained about the level of force used on him, and the effect of the incident on other members of his family present. 

During itsinvestigation,the IOPC reviewed footage of the incident from the officers’ bodyworn video cameras and mobile phone footage recorded by a member of the group involved. 

An investigation report said there was a case to answer forgrossmisconductagainst PC Spiby and formisconductagainst PC Severns. 

BTP Deputy Chief Constable Adrian Hanstock said: “The use of force by police officers, including deploying a Taser device, can often be a difficult judgment and it is understandable that in some cases independent scrutiny is necessary. However, it is important to remember that in this particular case, both officers were responding to a challenging situation where members of rail staff feared for their safety and called officers to assist. That said, clearly on this occasion the court felt that excessive force was used and found PC Spiby guilty of common assault.  

“We will now review the findings of the court and any potential misconduct action will be proportionate to the full circumstances the officers encountered.” 

PC Spiby will be sentenced on June 10. 

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