Birmingham & Black Country

'Angry' West Midlands PC 'had to be escorted from arrest'

A police officer had to be escorted from the scene of an arrest after shouting and balling his fist in the face of a suspect, a disciplinary panel has heard.

PC Daniel Hitchmough, of West Midlands Police, admitted swearing at the man as he was held on the ground by officers.

Ex-colleagues claimed he pushed his fist into the man's head.

PC Hitchmough denied gross misconduct and disciplinary panel allowed him to keep his job.

The incident in Great Barr Street, Birmingham, on 10 June 2014.

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The panel heard the suspect had been detained over reports he was involved in a knifepoint street robbery.

It is alleged PC Hitchmough arrived on the scene in plain clothes, while four other officers were restraining the suspect.

'Hand in my face'

PC Matthew Whitehouse said his former colleague seemed "very angry and agitated" towards the offender, and after shouting at him "pushed his fist into the side of the man's head".

Another officer, PC Richard Adams, said he saw PC Hitchmough rock the suspect's head back "about three times".

Two other officers offered different accounts of their colleague's actions to the panel.

Sgt Alex Roobottom admitted moving PC Hitchmough from the scene, but said he only saw him point his index finger in the suspect's face.

PC Nicola McSharry also denied seeing her colleague ball his fist and refuted claims he had sworn at the suspect.

When the suspect was taken into custody, he was recorded as saying: "I wouldn't say he punched me - he forced his hand into my face."

The panel heard the original custody suite CCTV footage had been automatically erased after 90 days, and a copy made by investigators made was of the wrong clip.

PC Hitchmough denied accounts he balled his fist against the suspect's head, "rocking it" back, as he continued shouting at him. His lawyers said he accepted swearing and being aggressive, which amounts to misconduct, but denied gross misconduct.

The panel found his behaviour did amount to gross misconduct but ordered he be given an 18-month final written notice.

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