Shoplifter assault case PC given community order

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Media captionA Metropolitan policeman has been sentenced to a community order after punching a suspected shoplifter

A police officer who punched a suspected shoplifter in the head before pinning her to the ground has been sentenced to a community order.

PC James Kiddie, 45, was called to the Uniqlo clothing store in Regent Street, after Sarah Reed, 30, was held by security guards in November 2012.

Kiddie said "snarling" Ms Reed bit his finger and said she had the Aids virus.

Westminster Magistrates' Court heard Ms Reed was later convicted of shoplifting.

Previous complaints

Kiddie, attached to Westminster borough, was found guilty of common assault by Judge Elizabeth Roscoe on 19 February after a three-day trial.

CCTV footage played to the court showed him pushing Ms Reed into a chair, grabbing her by the hair and hitting her on the head as she lay on the floor, before leaning on her neck until back-up arrived.

Judge Roscoe, sentencing Kiddie to a 150-hour community order, said she accepted his actions had been "an instinctive and immediate retaliation in anger".

She added evidence on CCTV and of witnesses was that Ms Reed - described in court as a drug addict who was later convicted of shoplifting - was a "difficult" and "aggressive" woman who had become more aggressive when the police officer arrived.

He was also ordered to pay £500 in prosecution costs, and a £60 victim surcharge.

Image copyright Neumans
Image caption James Kiddie has been the subject of two previous substantiated complaints, said the Met

Kiddie had told the court his strikes against Ms Reed were "half-power" and he had not wanted to hit her.

The Met said in a statement the officer - who has served for 12 years - was the subject of two substantiated complaints - in 2008 for lack of courtesy and respect and in 2011 for discriminatory comments.

He was also due to face a misconduct meeting this month with regard to the discharge of CS gas at a demonstration in January 2011, the Met added.

The process behind the previous complaints is to be reviewed.

Scotland Yard said fellow officers who had viewed the Uniqlo CCTV footage had been concerned by the level of force used by Kiddie during the arrest and reported the incident to the Met's Directorate of Professional Standards.

Kiddie's defence counsel, Ben Brandon, told the court the officer would be dismissed from the Metropolitan Police as a result of the court's findings.

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