CCTV shows moment serving police officer violently assaulted woman as she walked home

Off-duty police officer convicted of drunkenly assaulting woman quits amid outcry

Oliver Banfield, 25, will still face ‘accelerated misconduct hearing’, say West Midlands Police

Chiara Giordano
Wednesday 24 March 2021 02:47

A male off-duty police officer who dodged jail after drunkenly assaulting a woman has resigned from West Midlands Police.

PC Oliver Banfield was let off with a £500 fine after being convicted of the assault, sparking criticism from Labour MP Harriet Harman that the “system fails women and protects men”.

Banfield, who was suspended by the force after the court case on Friday, has quit less than a week later but will still face a misconduct hearing.

Deputy Chief Constable Vanessa Jardine, of West Midlands Police, said: “Today I have accepted the resignation of Pc Oliver Banfield.

“I want to stress that former Pc Banfield will still face an accelerated misconduct hearing, chaired by the Chief Constable, in the near future.

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“The misconduct process had had to wait until after criminal and court processes concluded, because of police regulations.

“I will make the outcome of that hearing public as soon as I can.”

Banfield, 25, admitted a charge of assault by beating on 37-year-old Emma Homer at an earlier hearing and on Friday was given a 14-week curfew banning him from leaving his house between 7pm and 7am and ordered to pay £500 compensation together with a £95 victim surcharge and £85 court costs at Leicester Magistrates’ Court.

Ms Homer hit out at Warwickshire Police’s initial handling of her complaint after she was attacked by a “drunk” Banfield while walking home at about 1am on 26 July 2020.

The victim was walking home alone in the village of Bidford-on-Avon after an evening out with friends when Banfield attacked, just yards from her door.

The probationary officer used techniques taught during his police training to try to tackle her to the ground.

CCTV footage of the attack, obtained by Channel 4 News, showed how he put her in a headlock and dragged her across the pavement, yelling: “On the floor now, on the floor now.”

Describing the assault, Ms Homer said: “I often ask myself if the impact of the attack would have been so severe if my assailant was not a police officer.

“During the assault as I struggled to get to safety, I was sure this drunk man was fulfilling a violent cop movie fantasy.

“To be verbally abused with misogynistic slang, grabbed by the neck, and forced to the floor on a dark road by a drunk man a foot taller than me is terrifying, but to then find that he was a police officer shook my belief system to its core.”

She said: “I considered myself a confident, relaxed, and independent wife and mother but since the attack I live with constant anxiety.

“I have changed simple things like my route home, and I have had to ask my family not to discuss the case as it sends me into a panic attack - indeed whenever the subject is brought up I feel a rush of anxiety and a tightening at my throat.”

Ms Homer said that despite reporting the assault within hours of it happening, it took "more than 30 hours for an officer to take a telephone statement", "nine days for an officer to come and see her" and "eight weeks for an officer to conduct house-to-house enquiries".

In a victim impact statement issued through a relative, Mrs Homer said the effects of the assault had left her with "anxiety, insomnia and stress" which had been "compounded by the slow response from Warwickshire Police".

The force has since personally apologised to Mrs Homer stating its "initial response to the report of the assault was not as swift as it should have been".

Chief Superintendent Ben Smith, of Warwickshire Police, said the force recognised "the strength of feeling that has come about as a result of Sarah Everard's tragic death and understand the concerns relating to violence against women and girls nationally".

Additional reporting by PA