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Police officer cleared of Melksham custody ABH

A WILTSHIRE police officer has been found not guilty of actual bodily harm and misconduct in a public place after an incident at Melksham police station. 

PC Lee Birch was cleared of the charges at Bristol Crown Court after he had tasered Daniel Dove who was in a cell at the time having been under arrest.

Wiltshire Police Chief Superintendent Paul Mills said, “On Sunday 23 December 2012 during the course of his duty, PC Lee Birch, a serving Wiltshire Police Officer, arrested Daniel Dove on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly and assault of two police officers. Later, in a cell at Melksham Police Station, Daniel Dove was Tasered by PC Birch.

“The case against Daniel Dove was discontinued and subsequently, PC Birch was summonsed to court in relation to offences of actual bodily harm (ABH) and misconduct in a public office relating to the use of the Taser. The use of Taser is one of a number of tactical options available to selected officers who have undertaken rigorous training and assessment.

During their training, it is highlighted to officers that the level of force used must be reasonable and necessary to achieve the purpose. Officers are individually accountable for the amount of force they use on a person and will always have to justify their actions as being necessary and proportionate under the law.”

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is currently conducting a managed investigation independently of Wiltshire Police. Their investigation will now consider whether PC Birch has breached the standards of professional behaviour expected of all Police Officers.

Wiltshire Police has also commissioned an independent peer review by the College of Policing in relation to the Force Taser policy and procedures. This was to ensure that the Force was in line with national standards and best practice.