Police officers set to learn their fate over 2017 Taser incident

Lancs Constabulary logo

Two Lancashire Constabulary officers, PC Jon Kelly, aged 43, and PC Ellen McLachlan, aged 34, will appear at Ormskirk Police Station this morning (Thursday 19th January. 2023) in a resumed misconduct hearing.

The hearing was adjourned on 9th December, 2022 after it over-ran its scheduled five day slot. The Panel had heard that the two officers were acquitted of criminal charges at a Crown Court trial but are continuing to face questions over alleged breaches of the force’s professional standards.

The allegations relate to the actions of the officers following their attendance at a domestic incident in Thornton Cleveleys, near Blackpool, in August 2017.

An Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation began in February 2018 and was completed in July 2019. The IOPC then referred a file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which made the decision to charge the officers in October 2020.

No explanation has been offered as to why the police watchdog took 17 months to complete an uncomplicated investigation that could, and should, have been concluded in weeks, not months. More bizarrely, prosecutors took 15 months to authorise charging of the two officers.

In a statement on their website about the hearing, Lancs Police say:

“It is alleged that PC Kelly and PC McLachlan have attended a reported incident and that both have used excessive force, which was not necessary, proportionate or reasonable.

It is further alleged that PC Kelly used behaviour and language towards a member of the public, which was or could be perceived to be abusive, oppressive and offensive.

It is alleged that PC Kelly and PC McLachlan failed to carry out their duties and responsibilities to the best of their ability by being aware of Body Worn Video footage and failing to take steps to ensure it was disclosed during criminal proceedings.

It is also alleged that PC McLachlan entered false information regarding a charging decision on an internal document with the CPS.

In light of the stated conduct, it is alleged that PC Kelly breached the Standards of Professional Behaviour relating to Use of Force, Authority, Respect and Courtesy, Honesty and/or Integrity and Duties and Responsibilities. It is alleged that PC McLachlan has breached the Standards of Professional Behaviour relating to Use of Force, Honesty and/or Integrity, Duties and Responsibilities and Challenging and reporting improper behaviour.

The hearing has, so far, heard that Mr Steven Pepper was tasered by PC McLachlan when offering ‘no threat’ and as he lay on the floor, PC Kelly called him a “skanky f***er” and “scum”, whilst also telling him “hopefully your dog will get run over”.

It is expected to conclude tomorrow (Friday 20th January, 2023).

Page last updated: Thursday 19th January, 2023 at 0830 hours

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Published by Neil Wilby

Former Johnston Press area managing director. Justice campaigner. Freelance investigative journalist.

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