20th May 2019

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigated an incident on 28 May 2018 when two men were arrested on a Railway Station platform by British Transport Police.

P.C. Spiby used a Taser on one of the men.  The man also had CS Spray used on him twice by P.C. Severns.

The man involved complained about the force used on him.  British Transport Police referred the complaint to the IOPC who investigated matters and sent a file to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).  The CPS authorised charges in January.

P.C. Spiby denied a charge of common assault but was convicted of the incident at Derby Railway Station when he appeared before Birmingham Magistrates Court.  The other Officer was cleared.

Sadly readers who studied media reports of the case could be forgiven for concluding the Deputy Chief Constable of British Transport Police was close to condoning the actions of the convicted Officer rather than offering any apology to the member of the public who was assaulted.

The BBC reported that Deputy Chief Constable Adrian Hanstock said:

Both officers were responding to a challenging situation where members of rail staff feared for their safety, and called officers to assist. That said, clearly on this occasion the court felt that excessive force was used and found PC Spiby guilty of common assault

The Officer was convicted beyond reasonable doubt in a Criminal Court.  The Deputy Chief Constable referred to the “Court” feeling that excessive force was used but made no reference to this being accepted by British Transport Police.

The BBC also reported that the Deputy Chief Constable added that the Court’s findings would be reviewed and “any potential misconduct action will be proportionate to the full circumstances the officers encountered”.

A cynic might consider the Officers are unlikely to face significant action, if any, from British Transport Police themselves.

At the time of writing this article on 10 May 2019 there is no mention on the British Transport Police website of any proposed Police disciplinary misconduct hearing against the two Officers.  In the absence of misconduct hearings the Officers will not face any disciplinary action which could lead to dismissal from the Police Force.

Blog by Richard Hardy, Partner