A Derbyshire Police sergeant who punched a man in the face inside a police station has avoided punishment after it was found the punch he made did not breach any policing standards. Teary Sgt Lee Jones will continue life as an officer with the force after it was found his actions against a detainee did not breach the standards of professional behaviour.
The 46-year-old has been at the centre of a misconduct hearing at Derbyshire Police’s headquarters offices in Ripley over the past few days. Sgt Jones was facing allegations he used “unnecessary” force by punching a man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, shortly after he was taken into custody at Chesterfield Police Station in June 2020.
The custody sergeant said he believed the use of the punch was “necessary” to prevent further assault as the man was seen “kicking out” at him close to the custody desk while being restrained by other officers. And the panel deciding the outcome of the hearing came to the conclusion that Sgt Jones’ actions were “reasonable” and “proportionate” in the circumstances.
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Mrs Jane Jones, chair of the independent panel, leading the hearing, said the panel concluded that the punch was indeed a necessary act of force and “was used to good effect” by Sgt Jones to deal with the detainee. Mrs Jones admitted that the punch “doesn’t look pretty” in eye of the public conception but said that at times police officers would need to use “a degree of force” as part of policing duties.
When the panel had revealed their findings, Sgt Jones could be seen teary eyed and in an emotional state. He was so emotional that he even left the room to compose himself before the panel had finished their final statement. The panel wished Sgt Jones all the best in the future.
Mrs Jones added: “There is no breach, no misconduct, no gross misconduct and there will be no final outcome. These proceedings can be concluded. We wish him (Sgt Jones) well in his professional career.”
Earlier in the hearing Sgt Jones defended his actions saying he felt the punch he gave was “within the sphere of police training”. When giving evidence, he told the misconduct panel: “I’ve stepped forward with my right leg and just jabbed him with my left hand. It was not a strong, painful shot, it’s a jab on the nose.
“It achieved what I set out to do. I think my actions were within the sphere of police training.” There is no evidence to suggest the detainee suffered any injury from the punch.
A number of CCTV clips were shown to the misconduct panel throughout the hearing. The Local Democracy Reporting Service did request if the CCTV clips could be released to the media – but this request was refused to protect the detainee.
After the hearing Kate Meynell said: Derbyshire Police Deputy Chief Constable Kate Meynell said: “We expect our officers to conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times and be diligent in the exercise of their duties and responsibilities. They are also expected to act with honesty and integrity.
“This hearing has proven that Sgt Jones used necessary force and acted in a professional manner during this incident and will therefore be remaining as a serving officer within the force.”