Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - formerly IPCC)
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Kent Police officer found guilty of assault

A Kent Police sergeant has been found guilty of assault after punching a man in a police cell.

PS Paul Coughlan pleaded not guilty to the charge but was convicted at Maidstone Magistrates Court yesterday (10 April) following an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation. He received a 120 hour community order to be served over a 12 month period.

The incident was referred to us after a man who was being held in police custody on 29 March 2017 complained he had been struck by PS Coughlan. 

Our investigation ended in July 2017 and concluded that a tribunal, suitably directed, could find PS Coughlan’s actions constitute gross misconduct. Kent Police agreed with this conclusion.

We also passed a file to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and a charge of assault by beating was authorised.

IOPC Regional Director Sarah Green said: “We entrust police officers with the power to use force in order to carry out their duties, but officers should only use force that is necessary, reasonable and proportionate. Our investigation concluded that the level of force PS Coughlan used was disproportionate in the circumstances.

“His victim was in a police cell and we concluded posed no risk to PS Coughlan or others at that time. We passed a file to the CPS and Kent Police who both agreed with our conclusion.

“PS Coughlan has been found guilty of committing assault and has been sentenced. With the completion of criminal proceedings will now be working with Kent Police to schedule disciplinary proceedings.”


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