A former Thames Valley Police officer would have been dismissed for gross misconduct had he not already resigned, a disciplinary hearing on 6 May concluded. The outcome follows an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) which looked at the officer’s treatment of a teenage boy in custody.
It was alleged that Police Sergeant Matthew Myers struck the 16-year-old in the face and then removed his clothing, leaving him naked until a detention officer came into the cell to assist him.
The incident happened on 4 January 2020, when the officer was performing the role of custody sergeant at Banbury police station, Oxfordshire.
A special case misconduct hearing, arranged by the force and overseen by the force’s chief constable, found the former sergeant had breached police standards of professional behaviour relating to use of force, authority, respect and courtesy, discreditable conduct and duties and responsibilities and that gross misconduct was proven.
It was concluded that he would have been dismissed if still serving. PS Myers’ resignation from the force came into effect on 5 May. He had already been suspended from work after being found guilty of battery at Luton Magistrates’ Court on 22 February 2021 and given a community order to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.
He will also now be placed on the College of Policing barred list, preventing him from future employment within the police service.
IOPC Regional Director, Graham Beesley, said: “Custody staff work in a difficult environment and can face challenging individuals and circumstances on a daily basis. But they have a primary duty of care to ensure the safety and welfare of all those who are detained.
“This officer was in a position of considerable responsibility and acted in a wholly unprofessional manner in striking the boy over the face and leaving him naked in his cell.
“His treatment of a boy who was vulnerable, and for whom English was not his first language, was the exact opposite of what was expected of him. He failed to show the leadership required of a custody sergeant.“
The disciplinary hearing’s sanction means that, rightly, he will not be able to work for the police service in the future.”
The IOPC investigation began following a voluntary referral from the force on 16 January 2020. Investigators reviewed and analysed CCTV from the custody suite. The detention officers present at the time of the incident were interviewed as witnesses. We also took an account from the boy. The officer prepared a statement under caution, following Covid-19 guidance.
On conclusion of our investigation in May 2020, the force agreed with our view that the former sergeant had a case to answer for gross misconduct.
The misconduct hearing was delayed until the criminal proceedings had completed.
Thames Valley Police
- Stats since 1st January 2022
20 Misconduct Hearings
90% held in public
Thames Valley Police covers Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire.