CCTV of a Wiltshire police officer tasering a suspect in a cell has hit social media after it was released against the wishes of the Chief Constable.

Following a trial at Bristol Crown Court last week PC Lee Birch was cleared of assaulting Daniel Dove causing actual bodily harm during a strip search at Melksham police station.

Mr Dove is seen hitting the officer on the side of his face with wet pants before being tasered and falling to the floor naked.

The footage was shown to the jury at Bristol Crown Court and after the trial media organisations asked for it to be released. It later emerged from another source.

PC Birch was also cleared of misconduct in public office, but he and four other officers still face an investigation by Gloucestershire Police acting on behalf of the Independent Police Complaints Commission into whether professional standards were breached.

Ch Const Patrick Geenty objected to the release of the CCTV. In a statement he explained: “Wiltshire Police absolutely support the fundamental need for openness and transparency. However, this case is subject of an IPCC managed investigation and as Chief Constable, I am responsible for my officers’ welfare and to help ensure that this process is fair to all involved.”

He added: “The CCTV only gives the viewer a snapshot of evidence in the case and it is my view that there is a risk that this evidence distributed in isolation without the proper context could result in prejudice to the ongoing misconduct investigation.”