Slap case PC reprimanded but allowed to keep job: Assault on boy was 'momentary lapse'

CONSTABLE Steve Guscott, the community policeman fined pounds 100 for slapping a 14-year-old boy, was yesterday reprimanded by David Shattock, the Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset. But after the private police disciplinary hearing, PC Guscott said he was 'very relieved' to have kept his job.

Mr Shattock had the choice of reprimanding PC Guscott, 42, asking him to resign, or dismissing him from his pounds 21,227-a-year job. After the hearing at the force headquarters at Portishead, near Bristol, the constable emerged smiling and said: 'A great shadow has been lifted from my shoulders and I am extremely grateful to the Chief Constable for his decision. I have remained honest and true to the police service for 20 years and he has given me the opportunity now to complete my service.'

He said he intended to continue with his posting to the communications centre at Taunton, Somerset, and could not foresee a return to his former duties in his home town of Minehead, Somerset.

PC Guscott said he had been overwhelmed with messages of support from throughout Britain and overseas after it emerged that he faced the disciplinary hearing. Bridgwater magistrates last month fined him pounds 100 and ordered him to pay pounds 50 compensation to the teenager after he admitted assault.

A petition of more than 16,000 signatures was sent to the Chief Constable from residents in Minehead, PC Guscott's home town and his beat for 10 years.

A trust fund set up to handle donations sent to him now totalled pounds 6,000, which would be distributed to charities, PC Guscott said. The money was likely to go to the RNLI and the victim support scheme, added PC Guscott, who is also the helmsman of Minehead's inshore lifeboat.

During the hearing, PC Guscott's divisional commander, Superintendent Mike Nelson, gave details of his 20 years' unblemished record. The hearing was then adjourned for half an hour for Mr Shattock, 58, to consider his finding.

Shortly afterwards, Chief Inspector Colin Benson read a statement saying: 'The Chief Constable expressed his gratitude for the many thousands of letters and messages from members of the public showing support and understanding for the difficulties officers face in policing our modern and complex society.

'The Chief Constable said front-line officers had a difficult and demanding job and although he could not tolerate violence - and those who had written in support of the officer had not suggested that he should - he accepted there may be momentary lapses of the extremely high standards set within this force.

'The Chief Constable accepted that this was a momentary lapse in an otherwise commendable career and that Constable Guscott had been completely honest throughout and retained his integrity.'

During the court case the boy alleged PC Guscott struck him twice - an elbow blow to his nose causing bleeding and an open slap to his cheek. The officer, who was looking for youths who had pestered a pensioner, denied the elbow blow, but admitted the slap.

The solicitor for the boy's family, St John Napier, said: 'I am not surprised by the decision. Both the family and I were expecting it.' The case had been a 'nightmare' for the family, he said. They had received death threats and feared that their business was on the verge of collapse. 'They feel that . . . reporting has been one-sided.'

(Photograph omitted)

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
Buddy DeFranco
people
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
filmIdris Elba responds to James Bond rumours on Twitter
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
film
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Manager

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Recruitment Genius: Electronics Test Engineer

£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015