11 Mar 2014
London, UK – A policeman who punched a suspected shoplifter in the head before pinning her to the ground has been sentenced to a community order – after a judge described his victim as “no shrinking violet”.
Pc James Kiddie, 45, was told by District Judge Elizabeth Roscoe that 30-year-old Sarah Reed was a woman who had “used violence in similar circumstances to avoid the consequences of her own actions and her dishonesty”.
“This was no shrinking violet, this woman, but, as a police officer, obviously higher standards are required from you,” she told Kiddie at a hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in central London.
“I do accept, as I say, that this was an incident of loss of control. There is no pre-meditation.”
Pc Kiddie had been called to the Uniqlo clothing store in Regent Street, after Ms Reed was held by security guards in November 2012, the court was told.
He told the court that a “snarling” Ms Reed had bitten him on the finger and claimed that she had the Aids virus.
CCTV footage played to the court showed him pushing her into a chair, grabbing her by the hair and hitting her on the head as she lay on the floor, before leaning on her neck until back-up arrived.
Judge Roscoe, sentencing Pc Kiddie to a 150-hour community order, said she accepted that his actions had been “an instinctive and immediate retaliation in anger.”
She added that evidence on CCTV and of witnesses was that Ms Reed – described in court as a drug addict who was later convicted of shoplifting – was a “difficult” and “aggressive” woman who had become more aggressive when the police officer arrived.
Pc Kiddie, attached to Westminster borough, was found guilty of common assault by Judge Roscoe last month after a three-day trial.
At the hearing today, he was also ordered to pay £500 in prosecution costs, and a £60 victim surcharge.
His defence counsel, Ben Brandon, told the court he would be dismissed from the Metropolitan Police as a result of the court’s findings.
Scotland Yard said fellow officers who had viewed the CCTV footage had been concerned by the level of force used by Kiddie during the arrest and had reported the incident to the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS).