Trio's new hearing
THREE Cambridgeshire police officers, convicted of assaulting a man they were trying to detain, will also face a disciplinary hearing, it was revealed. Sgt Matthew Swash, from March, and Pc David West and Pc David Walker, from Whittlesey, were found guilt
THREE Cambridgeshire police officers, convicted of assaulting a man they were trying to detain, will also face a disciplinary hearing, it was revealed.Sgt Matthew Swash, from March, and Pc David West and Pc David Walker, from Whittlesey, were found guilty of assaulting a man they were attempting to detain under the Mental Health Act.The officers had been warned that Paul Cooling was a potential suicide risk and they confronted him when he was leading a horse to a neighbour's stables in Doddington in 2004.The incident turned to mayhem when Mr Cooling resisted. One officer hit him across the leg with a baton and the other two sprayed him in the face with CS gas, a court was told.The officers were convicted of assault following their trial at Luton Crown Court. Sgt Swash was fined £400, West and Walker were fined £250 each, and all three were ordered to pay Mr Cooling £250 compensation.Judge John Bevan said the incident was not an aggressive act, but an error of judgement by the officers and he said he hoped the conviction would not result in the men losing their jobs.Acting Deputy Chief Constable John Feavyour said: "The officers convicted will now be further subject to the force's own disciplinary process."A statement on the result of that process will be issued when it has been completed, which will be as quickly as possible."In the meantime, we have reinforced our procedures in relation to the appropriate handling of people suffering from mental illness, and ensured that the training process in relation to the use of batons and CS spray is appropriate."The officers in this case made it clear that on the basis of the information they had at the time, they felt they were dealing with a man who was potentially at risk of committing suicide and they also felt concerned and threatened."However, they have been found guilty of using unreasonable force and causing actual bodily harm to Mr Cooling."Within hours of receiving the initial complaint about these actions of the three officers concerned, we ordered a thorough investigation. The officers were placed on restricted duties and the matter was immediately referred to the Independent Complaints Commission.