Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - formerly IPCC)
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Surrey Police officer who lied about assault is dismissed without notice

A Surrey Police officer who lied to an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation about an assault carried out by a fellow officer has been dismissed without notice following a misconduct hearing.

On 24 September 2019, PC Stephen Walters was found by an independent panel to have breached professional standards of behaviour by failing to act with honesty and integrity.

The misconduct hearing, which took place following an IOPC investigation, heard that PC Walters provided statements to Surrey Police and the IOPC about an incident in Epsom in September 2017 in which he said he did not see an assault take place, but heard what sounded like a single strike being delivered by his colleague PC Matthew Fitzgibbon.

Former PC Fitzgibbon was later charged with assault, found guilty, and subsequently dismissed from Surrey Police in January 2019.

PC Walters was due to give evidence at the officer’s trial on 4 January 2019 but did not attend due to ill health.

Ten days after the trial, PC Walters disclosed to a colleague that in fact he had seen PC Fitzgibbon deliver about six strikes, and had even attempted to shield the man PC Fitzgibbon was hitting from being struck further.

The officer he spoke to noted the conversation in his pocketbook and later alerted a superior.

Following a referral from Surrey Police in January 2019, we began an investigation. On completion in March 2019 we passed our conclusions to Surrey Police who agreed the officer had a case to answer for gross misconduct, and scheduled the hearing.

IOPC Regional Director Sarah Green yesterday said:

“PC Walters deliberately underplayed what he saw on the night of 17 September 2017 when he was witness to a member of the public being assaulted by a police officer.

“He continued to do so throughout our investigation into this assault. Thankfully other Surrey Police officers provided truthful accounts of the incident and had the courage of their conviction to do so at a trial.

It is vital that the public have the utmost confidence that police officers act with honesty and integrity, particular when providing accounts of potentially criminal behaviour either by members of the public or their colleagues.”


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