Trainee Police Officer Dismissed for ‘Excessive and Illegal’ Use of CS Spray During Pub Fight Intervention

A trainee police officer's career has come to an end after being sacked due to the 'excessive and illegal' use of CS spray while attempting to disperse a pub fight.

PC Holt was dispatched to Ye Golden Lion on Market Street, Blackley, in response to a chaotic altercation involving approximately 30 individuals on the evening of 24th July 2020.

Her actions during the incident led to her grabbing a specific individual whom she believed was attempting to carry a glass or glass bottle outside. In an effort to defuse the situation, she made use of her CS spray.

PC Holt’s rationale behind her actions was that she thought the individual would launch an attack against her with the glass. However, her accounts of the incident, both outside the pub, in custody, and in her official report, were found to be inconsistent.

As a consequence of the incident, the victim was arrested on suspicion of affray but was subsequently released with no further action taken in November 2020.

During a comprehensive five-day disciplinary hearing held at GMP’s Force HQ, it was determined that PC Holt’s conduct had grossly violated professional standards of honesty and integrity. As a result, she was dismissed from her position without notice.

The panel, led by Legally Qualified Chair Warren Spencer, concluded that PC Holt’s use of CS spray within a confined space and without any prior warning was deemed ‘excessive, not proportionate, legal, or necessary.’

The ultimate verdict resulting in her dismissal centered around her actions classified under Use of Force, Operational Honesty and Integrity, and Discreditable Conduct.

Furthermore, the panel found her accounts of the events, as relayed to other officers, to be ‘untrue, exaggerated, and embellished.’

In the panel’s words, “She discharged her spray with no attempt at communication or instruction, and its use was not necessary, reasonable, or proportionate. Moreover, it was discharged from a distance of less than the recommended one meter, and the situation did not warrant such action.”

Following the incident, PC Holt had been restricted to non-operational duties, and she will also be added to the College of Policing Barred List.

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