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

A Surrey Police officer has been found guilty of assault by beating after he punched a man who was handcuffed and lying on the ground.

PC Matthew Fitzgibbon was convicted at Westminster Magistrates Court on 4 January 2019 following an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). He is scheduled to be sentenced on 18 January 2019.

On 16 September 2017, while carrying out an arrest for suspected burglary and causing criminal damage, PC Fitzgibbon, who was a temporary police sergeant at the time, punched a 20 year-old man in the head as he lay on the floor. The arrest took place outside a property on East Street, Epsom.

The incident was referred to the IOPC after concerns were raised by PC Fitzgibbon's colleagues and on 22 September 2017 an independent investigation was launched.

Our investigation, which also looked at an allegation that PC Fitzgibbon made inappropriate contact with potential witnesses following this incident, was completed on 28 February 2018 and a file was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service who authorised the charge of assault by beating.

No criminal charge has been brought regarding contact with witnesses.

The file was also passed to Surrey Police who agreed that PC Fitzgibbon may have breached standards of professional behaviour and will schedule a misconduct hearing.

IOPC Regional Director Sarah Green recently said:

“PC Fitzgibbon has been convicted of assaulting a young man who was posing no threat and lying down in handcuffs.

“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.

“I would like to commend the Surrey Police officers who first highlighted concerns about the actions of PC Fitzgibbon and assisted with bringing him to justice.” 

With the completion of criminal proceedings Surrey Police will now move to schedule disciplinary proceedings.


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