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Ex-cop breached professional standards during Rugby incident

A former police officer has been found to have breached the standards of professional behaviour which amounted to gross misconduct, following an incident in Rugby.

PC Laura Lawson, who worked for the West Mercia force but had been based in Warwickshire since 2013, attended a disturbance in Rugby on 16 April 2017.

During the incident, it was alleged she used unreasonable force against a 17-year-old boy and two others.

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

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

Following a special case hearing at West Mercia Police's HQ yesterday (Tuesday, 14 May), chaired by the force's Chief Constable Anthony Bangham, Lawson received a finding of 'would have been dismissed' for gross misconduct, had she not previously resigned.

It was determined her 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.

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