A police officer who drove into a pedestrian before saying “thats how you deal with that” has kept his job in the force – despite his “utterly unacceptable” behaviour.
PC Rowan Huskisson, of Cambridgeshire police, faced a two-day misconduct hearing where it was alleged his actions amounted to gross misconduct.
The policing panel heard PC Huskisson was responding to a call from club bouncers in Cambridge city centre in May last year when the incident took place.
The first day of the police misconduct hearing, held in Biggleswade Town Council offices, heard evidence from three witnesses.
Sam Whitmore – who was never arrested or charged with any offence – admitted drinking for at least 12 hours before he was restrained by bouncers in Cambridge city centre.
PC Huskisson spotted Mr Whitmore in his marked police car before mounting the car up onto the pavement and hitting him at 3.40am on May 27 last year (2017).
After striking Mr Whitmore and seeing him fall to the floor, police bodycam footage caught PC Huskisson saying: "That's how you deal with that".
Chris Griffiths – a former police officer on shift with PC Huskisson on the day – told the panel that PC Huskisson hitting Mr Whitmore was “inadvertent” and the police car was slowing or stopping when this took place.
Mr Griffiths said he remembered PC Huskisson saying something “facetious” after hitting Mr Whitmore – but claimed it was said in the heat of the moment.
Giving evidence, PC Huskisson said he remembered being in tears after the collision, and said the idea put to him that he wanted to deliberately run someone over was “unbelievable”.
He said the cobbled surface of the taxi rank in St Andrews Street caused the police cars anti-braking system to kick in – meaning he panicked and stopped the car later than he planned.
PC Huskisson, a serving police officer for 12 years, claimed his intention was to try and block Mr Whitmores path – and he thought he could stop in time.
He denied claims that his comment was made to “show off to a less experienced colleague”, claiming instead that he was trying to diffuse the situation.
During closing submissions Matthew Holdcroft, representing the police, said PC Huskissons claims about the cars faulty anti-braking system were a “total red herring”.
He claimed PC Huskissons demeanour while speaking before the panel was “arrogant, argumentative, lacking in insight, and vicious” – and that he had shown no remorse.
Mr Holdcroft said the publics confidence in the police service would be impacted by PC Huskissons behaviour.
However Colin Banham, representing PC Huskisson, said the officer was of good character and he had been “truthful from the outset” about a “harrowing incident”.
The misconduct panel ruled PC Huskissons actions amounted to gross misconduct in three different areas: the use of force; authority, respect and courtesy; and discreditable conduct.
Despite this, a tearful PC Huskisson was handed a final written warning and allowed to keep his job in the force.
"His behaviour was utterly unacceptable"
This was despite a recommendation from Alan Baldwin, deputy chief constable of Cambridgeshire police, that immediate dismissal from the force was the "only appropriate outcome".
In a statement, DCC Baldwin said: “It is clear to me the officer did have a range of alternative options he should, and could have, adopted in his attempts to detain a pedestrian, and questions he should have asked over the radio to establish the risk the suspect posed.
“The comment he made does not betray the high standards of care and concern for members of the public that the police force has. His behaviour and actions are utterly unacceptable.”
PC Huskisson, 33, fought back tears as he read out a statement to the panel.
"Being a police officer has been the greatest achievement of my life"
He said: “I understand I shouldnt have attempted this manoeuvre at all, I certainly wont again.
“Being a police officer has been the greatest achievement of my life so far, I wish to continue to learn and make better decisions in the future.
“I am proud that I make a difference to the public, and wish to continue to do so.
“When I made the decision to block the path of the suspect, I thought I had assessed the risk correctly against the need of the publics expectation for me to catch a suspect of a crime.
“I will not allow myself to make this mistake again.”
The panel heard that PC Huskissons father had died in July 2016 – leaving him and his mother with a significant amount of debt.
It was stated that if he lost job in the force, PC Huskisson would be unable to provide or care for his mum, who has severe health difficulties.
Mr Banham told the policing panel that PC Huskisson struggled with dyslexia but left school with five GCSEs.
He said PC Huskisson had always wanted to be a police officer to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather – who was also awarded the Queens commendation for bravery.