Police officer strangled detainee in hospital

Devon and Cornwall police car
An accelerated misconduct hearing was held on 19 June [BBC]

A former Devon & Cornwall Police officer has been found culpable of gross misconduct after it was alleged he strangled a detainee in hospital.

The force said the incident happened on 4 June 2023 when PC Paul Barratt allegedly assaulted a detainee while supervising them with another officer.

He received a police caution for common assault by beating in August 2023 before resigning in February 2024.

During an accelerated misconduct hearing in June, Acting Chief Constable Jim Colwell concluded the officer would have been dismissed without notice, had he still been serving.

His details were submitted to the College of Policing Barred List.

Police generic
The hearing heard the violence was "a very serious matter" [BBC]

Statement 'untrue'

The force said PC Barratt was arrested and later released on bail after it received a report in June 2023.

In a signed pre-prepared statement, the former police constable admitted to placing his hand around the throat of detainee and effectively strangling him for a short period of time, the force said.

It said he received a police caution for common assault by beating in August before resigning in February 2024.

However, the force said during the course of proceedings, PC Barratt said details in the pre-prepared statement were "untrue" and he had not assaulted the detainee unlawfully.

'Very serious'

It said he claimed to have been coerced by those representing him to sign the admission and accept the caution.

The acting chief constable said he was "satisfied" it was "more likely than not" the event took place due to the available evidence, including a statement from the officer who was present at the incident.

Mr Colwell said the unlawful use of violence by a police officer was "a very serious matter" and "entirely inconsistent" with the expectation clearly held by the public in terms of how an officer should conduct themselves.

“Assaulting the detainee in such a way as has been proven here, goes against everything the public, and indeed I would expect to occur in such circumstances, and such conduct has quite rightly been highlighted, challenged and fully investigated," he said.

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