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Former PC found to have breached standards of professional behaviour

A former officer breached the standards of professional behaviour which amounted to gross misconduct, a hearing has ruled.

Following a special case hearing at West Mercia Police's headquarters near Worcester yesterday (Tuesday 14 May), PC Laura Lawson received a finding of 'would have been dismissed' for gross misconduct, had she not have previously resigned from the force.

On 16 April 2017, the former officer (who worked for West Mercia Police but had been based in Warwickshire since 2013) attended a disturbance in Rugby. During this incident, it was alleged she used unreasonable force against a 17-year-old boy and two others.

The incident was referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which conducted an investigation and subsequently referred the case to the Crown Prosecution Service who authorised the summons against the officer.

On 29 October 2018, 31-year-old Lawson pleaded guilty at Worcester Crown Court to common assault. She was sentenced to a three month custodial sentence suspended for 12 months, a three month curfew order and was made to pay costs.

At yesterday's hearing, chaired by West Mercia Police's Chief Constable Anthony Bangham, it was determined that Lawson's actions amounted to gross misconduct and breached the standards of professional behaviour in relation to Use of Force and Discreditable Conduct.

Head of Professional Standards, Supt Helena Bennett, said: "A serving police officer receiving a criminal conviction for assault brings discredit on the force and is completely unacceptable when we are responsible for protecting the public from harm.

"Lawson's actions amounted to a breach of the standards of professional behaviour we expect from officers, and were entirely inappropriate."

The hearing concluded that had Laura Lawson not resigned, she would have been dismissed from the force. She will now be placed on the College of Policing barred list.

The outcome of the hearing is subject to the normal appeals process.

Issued: 12.30pm, Wednesday 15 May, HCB, Corporate Communications

Published 15/05/19