Rockhampton officer demoted after he was found to have used excessive force against a prisoner in the watchhouse.
Rockhampton officer demoted after he was found to have used excessive force against a prisoner in the watchhouse. Cade Mooney

Police officer disciplined for punching spitting prisoner

A POLICE officer who punched a prisoner after being spat at has been demoted, after a finding by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

The Rockhampton police constable, who has not been named as he is still serving, was found to have used excessive force against a prisoner in the watchhouse.

The finding, delivered on February 1, stated the officer was on duty on October 25, 2015 when a prisoner was brought in at 2.15am.

The constable helped another officer take the "abusive, but compliant, prisoner to the cell".

"As the door to the cell was closed, the prisoner lunged forward and spat out of the doorway," the judgement stated.

The constable was struck on the arm by the spit, while his colleague was struck in the face.

The constable "immediately opened the door and entered the cell" before punching the prisoner in the face.

The documents state a "scuffle" occurred before the constable was separated from the prisoner.

After a sanction imposed by the Assistant Commissioner, the Crime and Corruption Commission requested a review, stating the punishment did not reflect the seriousness of the actions.

The tribunal was told the constable was "a relatively junior officer at the time", having been inducted two years before.

It was also noted he "was subject to provocative behaviour by the prisoner".

"Nevertheless, police officers are required to be restrained and professional when they encounter behaviour of this nature," the finding stated.

"The parties acknowledge that the nature of the misconduct ... was serious."

The tribunal noted the constable's clean record and immediate admission of misconduct were favourable.

"He also arranged for a one-on-one training session with an instructor to improve his responses in such circumstances," the finding stated.

The tribunal found the initial sanction, a two pay-point reduction for one year, was appropriate given these factors.

The sanction will stand until August, having been imposed on August 9, 2016.



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