Merseyside PC keeps job after kicking man in sausage dog row

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Merseyside Police said the officer had been "reminded of levels of professionalism expected"

A police officer has been allowed to keep his job after kicking a jogger in a row over his "excitable" sausage dog.

PC Ryan Bate, of Merseyside Police, was walking his young dachshund, named Max, in St Helens when it ran into the path of the victim.

The jogger shouted at the off-duty officer to "keep his dog on lead", but PC Bate "responded badly".

An independent misconduct panel handed PC Bate a final written warning after a hearing at Merseyside Police HQ.

The incident occurred on 12 May 2023, as both men were out on Billinge Hill, and ended with the jogger taking a picture of the officer and calling the police.

It was only when he uploaded the picture to Facebook that the man learned his assailant was a police officer.

The force's Professional Standards Department (PSD) conducted an investigation and charged PC Bate with breaching standards on discreditable conduct.

Billinge Hill
Billinge Hill, where an off-duty police officer clashed with a jogger

The jogger, who was not named in the panel's report, told detectives he was running downhill at around 17:40 GMT when Max, who was off his lead, ran between his legs causing him to almost lose his balance.

According to the jogger, after he shouted towards PC Bate the officer ran after him and grabbed his shoulder, threatening to "knock you out" and "flatten you", before kicking him in the ankle.

When the man called the police, PC Bate allegedly said: "Get off the phone to the police and stop wasting their time."

PC Bate denied chasing the jogger and said there was no physical contact between them.

'Understandably distressed'

The panel wrote: "Something sufficiently serious must have happened to cause [the jogger] to take a photograph of PC Bate and for him to call the police to report what he described as an assault.

"The Panel find that [the jogger] did not make it all up."

The three member panel said it did not make any determinations on what was said by each party, but concluded that PC Bate shouted at the man, put his hand on his shoulder and then "kicked him lightly on his left ankle" leaving a small cut.

It concluded he was guilty of gross misconduct, and said the fact his conduct "involved violence" increased his culpability.

However the panel accepted that PC Bate had "acted out of character" and had been "worried for the welfare" of the dachshund.

The officer was handed a final written warning which will remain on his record for two years.

Det Ch Supt Cheryl Rhodes, head of PSD, told the BBC: "This officer's conduct fell far below the standards we expect of everyone employed by Merseyside Police, and throughout this process he has been reminded of the levels of professionalism we expect and, more importantly, the people of Merseyside deserve."

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