West Midlands Police officer given final written warning over language used towards travellers

By Jordan Reynolds | Birmingham | Crime | Published:

A West Midlands Police officer has been given a final written warning for gross misconduct after a hearing was told that he had used discriminatory language towards a group of travellers in Birmingham.

Following a four-day hearing an independently chaired disciplinary panel yesterday found the case against PC Paul Birch proven over his use of language against travellers during an incident at the former North Worcestershire Golf Course, Northfield, in September 2017.

He was found to have breached professional standards for equality and diversity, as well as authority, respect and courtesy.

PC Birch and another officer were cleared of breaching standards of honesty and integrity by allegedly colluding over their accounts after PC Birch’s police dog had seized and injured a man who was with the travellers, and was subsequently arrested.

Police had been called to the site following a report that roof tiles were being stolen from the roof of the building.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) completed an investigation in May 2018 and forwarded a file to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to consider charges.

The CPS charged PC Birch with racially aggravated wounding in October that year and at a trial in August 2019 a judge at Birmingham Crown Court agreed with a defence submission that there was no case to answer and directed the jury to find the officer not guilty.

The IOPC investigation found a case to answer for gross misconduct against both officers and directed West Midlands Police to hold a disciplinary hearing after the force disagreed following the trial verdict.

IOPC Regional Director for the West Midlands, Derrick Campbell, said: “Footage of the incident during which the man was injured by the police dog was circulated widely on social media at the time. After a complaint was made we looked at how and why the animal was deployed and whether that was an appropriate use of force.

“It became clear from our investigation that the language used by PC Birch against the travellers present could be deemed to be discriminatory. A disciplinary panel has now ruled that it was unacceptable and amounted to gross misconduct.

Jordan Reynolds

By Jordan Reynolds
Reporter - @jreynolds_star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star.

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