Northamptonshire police sergent only given slap on the wrist for using 'excessive force' on elderly couple

A Northamptonshire police officer shouted in an elderly woman's face and forcibly pulled her out of her chair, a misconduct panel heard.

Wednesday, 19th April 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:55 pm
"The trust this elderly couple had in Northamptonshire Police is gone."

He then laughed as he screened footage of the incident to his colleagues back at the station.

Special Sergeant Alec Bedford, 26, was disciplined yesterday (April 18) at a hearing at Northamptonshire Police Headquarters, in Northampton, for his part in a 'distressing' incident towards an 87-year-old woman and her husband in their own home.

Chair of the misconduct hearing Geoffrey Payne said: "The trust the victims involved in this case had in Northamptonshire Police is now gone.

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The hearing was held at Wootton Hall, Northamptonshire Police's Headquarters.

"This was a life-changing event for the couple and one that hurts the reputation of the force."

Special Sergent Bedford did not attend his disciplinary hearing.

He was one of three officers called to the house in the Daventry area in July 2015 following a two-week-old report of domestic violence at the property.

The resulting incidents at the elderly couple's house were filmed on one of the officer's body-worn cameras.

Daventry Police Station.

The 87-year-old woman protested when the officers said they would arrest her 90-year-old husband and tried to use a telephone to call their daughter.

Mr Payne said: "The footage shows Bedford shouting 'sit down now' very close to the woman's face, before forcibly pushing her down into her seat.

"It was then that the woman caused an action that leaves a scratch on Bedford, to which Bedford says 'you'll be arrested for assault in a minute if you're not careful'.

"Another, higher-ranking officer then tells Bedford to 'lock her up'. After a moment, Bedford replies 'yeah, that's it', then pulls the woman to her feet and tells her she is under arrest."

The hearing was held at Wootton Hall, Northamptonshire Police's Headquarters.

The footage then shows Bedford alternating between restraining the elderly woman and attemping to take her phone from her.

The panel then heard how later that week an officer saw Bedford screening the footage of the 'distressing' arrest to his colleagues.

Mr Payne said: "He was loud, laughing and not taking any notes. It is apparent there was no reason for the other officers to see this footage and that it was an attempt to be sensational."

But Bedford was then caught screening to footage again to another officer three days later - by the 87-year-old victim in the video.

Daventry Police Station.

My Paynes said: "When the woman and her daughter arrived at the police station to settle her arrest at her house, she found Bedford on the front desk showing the footage to his colleague.

"The footage shows two very distressed members of the public. This was entertainment in the loosest sense of the word and shows a very complacent attitude towards confidentiality."

Although Bedford later apologised for his behaviour, the panel found that his actions amounted to misconduct.

Mr Payne said: "This is a serious incident, but one that falls on the lesser end of the spectrum, as he did not leak the footage to a third party. Additionally, he was instructed to arrest the victim by a high-ranking officer.

"However, there was a high level of culpability involved and considerable harm was caused to the victims."

Bedford was issued a final written warning, meaning any further misconduct over the next 18 months will put him at risk of dismissal.

Another officer at the incident was sanctioned at a separate hearing.