Police officer sacked over assaults on public during lockdown
A police officer found guilty of assaulting two members of the public on consecutive days during the first Covid lockdown has been sacked for gross misconduct.
Police Constable Declan Jones was convicted by a district judge last month after committing the offences, including an attack on a teenager, while on duty in Birmingham, starting with an assault on a man in Aston on April 20 last year.
The 30-year-old officer went on to kick and punch a 15-year-old he wrongly accused of possessing drugs in the Newtown area of the city on the following day.
Jones was dismissed without notice on Tuesday by West Midlands Police Chief Constable Sir David Thompson, who said the case also involved a “national concern” surrounding the use of force by the police on members of the black community.
Observing that Jones’s conduct had brought discredit on West Midlands Police and police officers in general, Sir David told the hearing: “This case concerns two convictions of assault by a police officer while on duty.
“Both assaults were captured on CCTV and widely seen. Any right-thinking member of the public would feel the force applied to be excessive and gratuitous.
“That is clearly the finding that the court made in this case. The case shows a clear abuse of the officer’s powers while on duty.”
Presiding over an accelerated misconduct hearing, Sir David said of Jones: “The officer’s conduct has clearly fallen far below what ought to be expected of any police officer.
“The conduct is criminal and has caused a serious impact on the public view of West Midlands Police.
“I fully apologise to his victims in this case. I can see no sanction other than the officer should be dismissed without notice.”
The case would inevitably be seen in the context of concerns by the black community about police use of force, Sir David said, adding that Jones’s criminal acts had “made the work of good officers harder”.
Such cases were routinely reviewed, the chief constable said, to improve the performance of the force.
The chief officer continued: “Getting this right and ensuring our black communities know this is an imperative for me and every right-thinking person on this force.
“It requires each of us to strive to be better… so we can remove the stain that this police officer’s actions has placed on our force.”
In a statement issued after the case, Sir David said: “Police officers join the public to serve. They run towards danger and place themselves in harm’s way.
“Every day I see examples that make me proud of officers in this force who wear the badge of the Crown and do great things for the community.
“However this case will reinforce the view of some that his bad behaviour has only been acted upon because of clear CCTV. That other incivilities towards black people do not receive the attention that is unavoidable in this case.
“Whilst I do not believe this to be true, as a force and a group of professionals we fail if we do not confront the realities of this view and the fact that force is used by us disproportionately on black men.
“There is more that needs to be done by the force and each of us to address this. We do police an unequal society and there will be disparities. Where they exist we must account for them and take action to demonstrate we are acting fairly and in the public interest.”
Jones, who denied both offences during a trial at Coventry Magistrates’ Court, did not attend his misconduct hearing at West Midlands Police HQ.
He is due to be sentenced at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court later this week.