Police officer cleared of assault after tasering man in cell
Updated 2:17pm Tuesday 29th April 2014 in North Wilts news
A WILTSHIRE police officer has been cleared of accused of assault and misconduct charges after he tasered a man in a cell.
PC Lee Birch, 30, was found not guilty by a jury at Bristol Crown Court today, but the force has said the Independent Police Complaints Commission will now consider whether he breached professional behaviour standards.
The incident happened on December 23, 2012 after he arrested Daniel Dove on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly and of assaulting two PCs.
Later in the cells at Melksham, Mr Dove was tasered when he flicked his wet underpants at PC Birch during a strip search.
The case against Mr Dove was dropped, but the officer was charged with assault causing actual bodily harm and misconduct in public office. In court he denied he had acted out of revenge.
Following the verdict, Ch Supt Paul Mills said: “The use of Taser is one of a number of tactical options available to selected officers who have undertaken rigorous training and assessment.
“During their training, it is highlighted to officers that the level of force used must be reasonable and necessary to achieve the purpose.
“Officers are individually accountable for the amount of force they use on a person and will always have to justify their actions as being necessary and proportionate under the law.
“The IPCC are currently conducting a managed investigation independently of Wiltshire Police.
“Their investigation will now consider whether PC Birch has breached the standards of professional behaviour expected of all Police Officers.
“Wiltshire Police have also commissioned an independent peer review by the College of Policing in relation to the Force Taser policy and procedures. This was to ensure that the Force was in line with national standards and best practice.
“Although not specific to this case, we have accepted the recommendations from this review and have subsequently re-written our Taser policy. We have also changed our processes for the selection of Taser trained officers.”
He added: “Wiltshire Police wish to reiterate that it expects the highest standards of professional behaviour from its police officers and staff. Furthermore, there are a clear set of organisational values and behaviours that all officers and staff are expected to adhere to.
Finally I also wish to emphasise that the safety of all detained persons in our care is of paramount importance and taken very seriously indeed.”