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Policeman cleared of assault charge

PUBLISHED: 06:40 14 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:17 24 February 2010

THE Crown Prosecution Service in Suffolk has come under fire for pressing ahead with the case of a police officer accused of assault.

PC Peter Pitts, 37, was charged with two counts of assault by beating following an alleged incident in an Ipswich police custody suite in April last year.

THE Crown Prosecution Service in Suffolk has come under fire for pressing ahead with the case of a police officer accused of assault.

PC Peter Pitts, 37, was charged with two counts of assault by beating following an alleged incident in an Ipswich police custody suite in April last year.

He was said to be very relieved when his case was thrown out court yesterday . District Judge David Cooper could find no evidence against the defendant.

PC Pitts, a police dog handler, of Melbourne Road, Ipswich, had been suspended from service, despite protesting his innocence.

Now the Suffolk Police Federation is calling for his immediate reinstatement and has also raised questions about why the case came to court.

Phil Smith, of the federation, appealed to the CPS to extend the same consideration to police officers under suspicion, as they would towards ordinary members of the public.

Peter Tidey, prosecuting at Ipswich Magistrates Court, told how PC Pitts had arrested Paul Kyriakides during a fracas outside Brannigans nightclub in Cardinal Park, Ipswich, on April 23 last year.

Mr Kyriakides was taken to the custody suite at Ipswich Police Station where the alleged assaults took place.

Mr Tidey alleged that PC Pitts had used "unnecessary and excessive force", pinning the prisoner against the custody desk and pulling his head back by his hair.

During a further scuffle, Mr Tidey said CCTV footage showed PC Pitts may have used his right leg to kick the prisoner's head. No charges were brought against Mr Kyriakides.

Mr Kyriakides had made no complaint against PC Pitts and could remember nothing of the incident.

It was only after the video was analysed that Chief Inspector Jim Friend, of Suffolk police's professional and ethical standards section, told Mr Kyriakides of the alleged assault.

Mr Tidey admitted it was difficult to tell from CCTV footage whether PC Pitts' leg had struck the prisoner's head. He could offer no further evidence.

Judge Cooper said the video recording was "subject to various interpretations", adding that it was clear the supposed victim had no memory of the incident.

Dismissing the case, he added: "It is an excellent thing that the police do take this matter seriously. (Their part in it) is not a matter for any criticism whatsoever."

Phil Smith of the police federation, said: "This has been a very dramatic time for Mr Pitts and his family. We would expect an early return to duties for him."

He added that Judge Cooper had sent a "clear message" that the case should not have come to court.

"The CPS should reflect on this," he said.

"We as a federation are not asking for special treatment for police officers, merely that they should be given the same consideration as the general public."

A Suffolk police spokesman said Suffolk Constabulary was now deciding whether to take internal disciplinary action and would be making its recommendation to the independent Police Complaints Authority which had supervised the case throughout.

No one from the Crown Prosecution Service was available for comment.


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