Car chase ex-police officer Mike Baillon wins damages
- 5 February 2014
- From the section South East Wales
A former Gwent PC whose videoed arrest of a pensioner after a car chase was leaked and shown on the internet has won at least £430,000 damages for constructive dismissal by the force.
Mike Baillon claimed he was sidelined after film of him smashing the driver's window of a 4x4 vehicle which failed to stop was watched 30m times on You Tube.
The compensation consists of pension payments and lost earnings.
Gwent Police said it was disappointed with the outcome.
A tribunal in Cardiff in 2013 heard Mr Baillon, 42, quit his job in August 2012 after being moved from his role as a front-line traffic officer because the force felt his "judgement may be impaired".
It follows an incident in 2009 where he was filmed smashing the window of a 71-year-old driver who failed to stop and was driving without a seatbelt.
Robert Whatley was stopped and questioned by Mr Baillon before he drove off without warning.
A 17-minute pursuit followed through the Monmouthshire countryside before Mr Whatley stopped again.
Mr Baillon then smashed the driver-side window of the 4x4 in an attempt to take the keys from the ignition.
Mr Whatley was found guilty of failing to stop, failing to wear a seatbelt and other offences and was fined £235.
But he brought a civil claim against Gwent Police which was settled without liability for £65,000 in compensation and costs in 2012.
A video of the incident, recorded from Mr Baillon's traffic car, was leaked online and made headlines around the world.
The former traffic officer was cleared of any wrongdoing by both a criminal and professional standards investigation and returned to his road traffic unit role in October 2011.
He later filed a complaint against Gwent Police for undermining him in his role, issues regarding witness intimidation and failing to follow official complaints procedure.
Soon after he was relocated to a local policing unit.
This was "punishment" for having "the perceived audacity to write complaints and make protected disclosure to senior officers", an employment tribunal in 2013 concluded.
Mr Baillon, from Torfaen, said he felt let down by Gwent Police and was undermined in his role.
He said the impact of the publicity surrounding the case had caused stress for his family.
"I felt to draw a line under the incident I needed to make the organisation aware of how they dealt with the incident and the effect that had on me and my family," he said.
Referring to Gwent Police, he added: "They've cost me my job and they've cost the taxpayer an awful lot of money.
"I was highly trained and highly committed, but it counted for nothing in the end."
A spokesman for Gwent Police said: "Gwent Police defended itself against the claims during the employment tribunal process and is disappointed at the outcome.
"We will now reflect on the judgment."