Police Officer Given Adult Caution For Bar Assault

A police officer assaulted a man at a bar while off-duty and unlawfully accessed information on police computer systems, according to a Police Ombudsman investigation.

The officer was given an adult caution after he was found to have punched a man in the face during an argument at a bar in Belfast city centre in August 2014.

The man later lodged a complaint with the Police Ombudsman's Office, stating that the officer told him he was in the police before punching him on the nose.

He said the officer was drunk and aggressive and had been escorted from the premises by door staff, but was trying to get back in to get his coat.

The complainant said he intervened to try to diffuse the situation, but the officer refused to calm down and came towards him with a car key in his hand, told him he was a police officer and then punched him.

The complainant said the officer was then restrained on the ground by bar staff, while the bar manager reported the incident to police.

In wake of the incident, the PSNI's Discipline Branch contacted the Police Ombudsman's Office to advise of concerns that the officer may have unlawfully accessed information on a police computer.
News Image
A Police Ombudsman investigator obtained statements from the complainant and members of the bar staff, and examined police records relating to the incident.

CCTV footage from within the bar was also obtained. It showed that the officer had left the bar of his own accord, but did not show the confrontation with the complainant.

The officer was interviewed under caution and denied assault. He said he was annoyed at having been manhandled by bar staff, and felt staff were unreasonable in not allowing him to retrieve his coat.

He said he was stopped from going back into the bar to get his jacket and put his hands up to stop staff grabbing him. He had his key in his hand and said it was possible that it had flipped out and struck the complainant, but if it had it was accidental.

He accepted, however, that he had unlawfully accessed information on a police computer system.

After completing her investigation, the Police Ombudsman investigator sent a file to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS). The PPS found that the evidence supported the complainant's allegations of assault and that the officer had made inappropriate use of police systems.

After consultation with the complainant, the PPS offered the officer an adult caution for the offences, which he accepted.

The PPS found insufficient evidence to support the complainant's allegations that the officer had threatened him.


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

20 March 2020
Moy Park Recruiting Hundreds Of Temporary Staff
Hundreds of jobs have been made available at Moy Park sites across Northern Ireland as the firm works to fulfil demand from shoppers. The poultry company has seen a sharp increase in demand as grocery retail sales soar amid the coronavirus outbreak.
06 August 2014
Police Vehicle Contracts Arrest - Man Released
A 54-year-old member of police staff who was arrested in County Antrim as part of ongoing investigations into the awarding of vehicle contracts has been released. The man was arrested on suspicion of misconduct in public office and has been taken to a police station in Belfast for questioning.
03 February 2012
Cross Border Co-Operation On Child Protection Launched
A new joint protocol aimed at protecting vulnerable children on both sides of the border has been formally launched today.
28 March 2007
House of Lords vote for ‘50/50’ police force
The House of Lords has renewed the 50/50 recruitment rule for the PSNI by a majority of 44. It puts into practice a recommendation made in 1999 by Lord Patten that the local police force should be split evenly between Catholics and Protestants. The result of the vote was 141 to 97.
30 January 2015
Armed Robber Dresses As Police Officer
Police are searching for two men in connection with the attempted armed robbery of a shop in Co Armagh. Police said that one of the men who attempted to rob the shop on West Street, Portadown, was dressed as a policeman. It is understood two men entered the shop at about 10am on Thursday, one of them was carrying a suspected firearm.