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Police officer disciplined for 'slapping arrested woman across face'

Published 09/02/2016

The woman was struck in the back of a police vehicle, ombudsman investigators said
The woman was struck in the back of a police vehicle, ombudsman investigators said

A police officer has been disciplined for slapping a woman across the face.

The woman was handcuffed when the officer struck her in the back of a police Land Rover, Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman investigators found.

The incident happened in Dunmurry in August 2013 after the woman was arrested on suspicion of assaulting police.

The ombudsman's office said the woman was sitting on a bench in the back of the Land Rover, handcuffed to the rear and with her feet on the bench opposite, when the officer swiped her feet off the bench and slapped her once across the cheek.

Investigators said the woman accepted that she was drunk at the time and admitted she then tried to hit the officer back.

Interviews with police officers and members of the public who were in the area at the time were conducted as part of the investigation.

When interviewed, the officer denied having slapped the woman, and said he had pushed her by the shoulder back on to her seat after she had attacked him.

A file was sent to the Public Prosecution Service, which directed that the officer should not be prosecuted.

However, the Police Ombudsman's office concluded that there was sufficient evidence, on the balance of probabilities, to support the woman's allegation that she had been slapped by the officer.

The PSNI subsequently disciplined the officer involved.

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