Watchdog labelled 'not fit for purpose' after PC cleared of using dog as a weaponReview demanded into IOPC case branded 'farce from start to finish' by federation
A police watchdog accused of a witch hunt has been branded “not fit for purpose” after an "ultimate professional" officer was cleared by a jury of allegations he used his dog as a weapon.
Three-times commended PC Paul Jackson was investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct after complaints about his use of German Shepherd dog Jerry and excessive violence while working for Greater Manchester Police's tactical vehicle intercept unit.
The probe led to the dog handler being put on trial accused of going on the attack with Jerry against five suspects who all abandoned cars followed by the unit in separate incidents between August 2015 and September 2016.
The Crown claimed the 36-year-old officer deployed Jerry to "vent his contempt" for criminals but on Friday a jury at Preston Crown Crown found him not guilty of five counts of wounding with intent.
His colleague, PC Paul Lockett, 37, a plain-clothes officer in the unit, was also found not guilty of aiding and abetting one of the alleged assaults and a second count of misconduct in a public office.
PC Jackson wiped away tears after he and PC Lockett were told by the judge, Mr Justice Nicklin, they could leave the dock and sit behind their lawyers.
Both officers nodded their thanks to jurors as they left the courtroom.
Today the police federation has called for a “full and independent review” of the case by Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Policing Minister Nick Hurd.
The five complainants who gave evidence at the trial all have previous convictions – ranging from cannabis possession and driving offences to a career burglar and a convicted murderer.
They were all accused of lying to claim that PC Jackson held them down to allow Jerry to continue biting them, and that their injuries were in fact caused by them resisting arrest.
Following the verdicts, Greater Manchester Police Federation chairman Stu Berry said the case had been "nothing short of a witch hunt."
Writing on the federation's Facebook page, Mr Berry said: "This whole case has been a farce from start to finish and an unnecessary waste of the public money in times of extreme austerity.
"This case has been nothing short of a witch hunt as the IOPC proactively sought evidence and built a flimsy case around evidence provided by convicted burglars and worse, a convicted murderer."
Calling for an independent review, he added: "The IOPC is clearly not fit for purpose in its current form.
"The lives of two highly motivated and respected police officers have been ruined with long-lasting consequences for their professional and private lives.
"Have we got to the point where we as a society believe the word of career criminals over honest and hardworking police officers?
"We now face a situation where dog handlers are reluctant to do their job. Instead of focusing on catching the bad guys, their first thoughts are 'we don't want to be the next Paul Jackson'."
Giving evidence, former lifeguard PC Jackson said he acted lawfully at all times in a reasonable and proportionate manner. He denied he lost control in anger and allowed Jerry to bite his target while on the ground.
Jurors heard the officer had received three commendations – including two chief constable's awards – since he joined the Greater Manchester force in 2008.
In 2010 he rugby-tackled a man who doused himself in petrol and threatened to set himself alight with his family nearby.
Five years later, he helped detain a gang who robbed a farmhouse in Hull and tortured a couple.
Inspector Tariq Butt told the jury PC Jackson was the "ultimate professional" and added: "If I could clone the traits of a police dog handler it would be Pc Paul Jackson."
PC Lockett denied acting as lookout in the alleged wounding of Kelly and said he did not report the incident because no wrongdoing had taken place.
PC Jackson’s co-accused also earned a chief constable's award for his role in apprehending the gangsters in the violent robbery in Hull.
IOPC regional director Amanda Rowe said: "These were serious allegations against the officers which clearly required criminal investigation.
"We respect the jury's decision. The evidence has been heard in full and has been properly scrutinised via the judicial process.
"The next steps are to complete the conduct matters for these officers. Greater Manchester Police agreed with our findings, and we await their response with regard to any further proceedings."
- July 2019 (5)
- June 2019 (8)
- May 2019 (8)
- April 2019 (8)
- March 2019 (10)
- February 2019 (9)
- January 2019 (9)
- December 2018 (9)
- November 2018 (12)
- October 2018 (8)
- September 2018 (7)
- August 2018 (11)
- July 2018 (7)
- June 2018 (9)
- May 2018 (9)
- April 2018 (12)
- March 2018 (10)
- February 2018 (8)
- January 2018 (5)
- December 2017 (6)
- November 2017 (4)
- October 2017 (3)
- September 2017 (10)
- August 2017 (5)
- July 2017 (5)
- June 2017 (6)
- May 2017 (6)
- April 2017 (2)
- March 2017 (3)
- February 2017 (4)
- January 2017 (1)
- December 2016 (3)
- November 2016 (4)
- October 2016 (1)
- September 2016 (4)
- August 2016 (4)
- July 2016 (1)
- June 2016 (5)
- May 2016 (3)
- April 2016 (1)
- March 2016 (3)
- February 2016 (3)
- January 2016 (3)
- December 2015 (3)
- November 2015 (3)
- October 2015 (3)
- September 2015 (2)
- August 2015 (1)
- July 2015 (11)
- June 2015 (1)