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Hertfordshire Police officer Stephen Dalton banned for life

A police officer

Shot of the back of a police officer’s jacket with the word police written across the back (Credits: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A police officer who taunted a suspect by asking ‘it hurts, doesn’t it?’ as he pressed his face against a car has been sacked.

Stephen Dalton used ‘unnecessary’ excessive force while detaining a man in Watford, an investigation found.

The Hertfordshire Police constable pushed the individual against a parked police car on October 4, 2019.

His face struck the vehicle with enough force to require hospital treatment and he was later released without charge.

Two investigations followed after the individual involved made a complaint.

Mr Dalton was acquitted of a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm by a jury in November 2021.

However, an independent disciplinary panel has ruled that the behaviour is grounds to sack the officer.

It found he was in breach of professional standards relating to conduct, use of force, authority, respect and courtesy for his comments when he knew the man was injured.

Police tape

Stephen Dalton was found not guilty of a criminal offence but in breach of professional standards (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Graham Beesley, regional director of the the Independent Office for Police Conduct, said: ‘PC Dalton did not demonstrate self-control or professionalism and allowed the incident to escalate.

‘Our investigation found the officer had a case to answer for gross misconduct and today a disciplinary panel has concluded the amount of force used was unnecessary and the officer has now lost his job.

‘His conduct fell far below the standards expected and clearly had the potential to damage public confidence in the police.’

Gross misconduct was found proven against PC Dalton who has been placed on the barred list, meaning he cannot work in policing again.

During the four-month investigation, which began after the IOPC received a referral from the police force in October 2019, CCTV footage was gathered and reviewed.

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