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Police officer disciplined for errors in threat claim case

A PSNI officer has been disciplined after wrongly issuing a penalty to a man for allegedly threatening to hit a woman.

The sanction imposed on the man was overturned when the Police Ombudsman found the officer had made a number of errors during his investigation.

The man received a discretionary disposal after a woman told police that he had raised his fist at her during a row, and that this had left her fearing for her safety.

However, the man told a Police Ombudsman investigator that he had not raised his fist at the woman and described the incident as "a load of hot air", which had lasted no more than 10 seconds.

Following an investigation, the police watchdog found that the officer had breached police procedure in a number of ways.

He had administered the discretionary disposal without a "clear and reliable admission of guilt", as is required.

The officer also failed to caution the man or obtain his consent for the use of the scheme.

In addition, the officer had breached guidelines by using the scheme when there was not enough evidence for a reasonable prospect of a prosecution.

The woman had made no formal statement of complaint and had made it clear that she did not wish the matter to go to court.

A discretionary disposal is used for "minor offences".

It is recorded against the offender's offending history but does not constitute a formal criminal record.

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