West Midlands Police officer convicted of assault
3 Aug 2021 02:46 PM
A West Midlands Police officer investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has been found guilty of common assault.
We carried out three independent investigations into PC Declan Jones, who was based at Handsworth Police Station. All three examined his use of force on Black males.
One related to the stop and search of a 15-year-old boy in Newtown, Birmingham on 21 April 2020. Footage showing part of the incident, which was shared on social media, showed the officer striking the child’s head then kicking him once in the midriff.
The boy was subsequently searched but nothing was found. Following contact from us, the matter was referred to us by the force and the boy’s mother also submitted a complaint.
We also separately investigated complaints that excessive force was used on two men who were stopped and searched in the Aston area of the city on 20 April 2020 and in Handsworth on 23 April 2020.
For the incident on 20 April, we looked at the actions of two officers during the detention of the complainant, in particular the use of force. CCTV footage showed PC Jones pushed the man before punching him several times to the side.
In the later incident, the complainant said excessive force had been used against him.
Following careful consideration of the evidence, files were passed to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in relation to all three investigations, which authorised three charges of common assault against PC Jones.
He pleaded not guilty at an earlier hearing at Coventry Magistrates’ Court and last month faced trial. He has now been found guilty of two charges of common assault, for the incidents on April 20 and 21. He was found not guilty in relation to the third charge during a hearing at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court.
PC Jones is due to be sentenced on 10 September at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court.
We also found PC Jones had a case to answer for gross misconduct in relation to breaching the professional standards for: use of force; honesty and integrity; and conduct. He was also considered to have a case to answer for misconduct in relation to: duties and responsibilities; and authority, respect and courtesy. A misconduct hearing will be arranged by the force.
We will also be issuing statutory recommendations for the force as a result of these investigations.
Allegations of race discrimination were made in two of the complaints. As well as PC Jones’ language and actions during the incidents, we considered his history of stop and search as well as use of force. The evidence available did not indicate a consistent pattern of behaviour nor was PC Jones’ language during either incident considered to suggest discriminatory behaviour.
Derrick Campbell, IOPC Regional Director, yesterday said:
“PC Jones’ aggressive actions fell a long way short of the standards expected of a police officer.
“His use of force in these situations was disproportionate and unnecessary. Not only has this had a significant impact upon his victims but we know any negative interaction like these can seriously undermine public confidence in the police.
“Our investigations have ensured he was held accountable for his actions and we thank the court for the careful consideration given to the evidence that was presented. The force will now arrange disciplinary proceedings and we await the outcome.”
The actions of two other officers were also investigated during the investigations.
One, who was a subject in two of the investigations, was found to have a case to answer for gross misconduct for a possible breach of police standards of professional behaviour regarding use of force and honesty and integrity. A misconduct hearing will be arranged by the force. The officer was also found to have a case to answer misconduct for duties and responsibilities. We felt this was best addressed through unsatisfactory performance procedures.
The other, who was a subject in the other investigation only, was found to have a case to answer for misconduct for breaching the standards relating to use of force; duties and responsibilities; and authority, respect and courtesy relating to their actions during a stop and search. We recommended reflective practice for the officer to address this.