A disgraced Met Police officer has quit the force after being convicted of attacking a taxi driver while off duty in Essex. PC Gareth Head was charged following an investigation by the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC) into the incident in Brentwood.
The police constable stood trial last year for two counts of racially aggravated actual bodily harm and actual bodily harm, following an incident in May 2018. Former PC Head was acquitted by a jury on the racially aggravated charge, but the jury at Basildon Crown Court could not reach a verdict on the ABH charge.
A second, five-day trial took place at the same court where the jury found PC Head guilty of ABH on March 1. He has subsequently resigned from the Met Police, and a misconduct hearing has since ruled he would have been dismissed had he not already left.
The officer was off-duty and was being dropped off by a taxi after a night out in May 2018 when he assaulted the driver, who was subsequently treated for an injured jaw. The driver left the scene and called Essex Police alleging that he had been assaulted. Two months later the taxi driver recognised former PC Head, noted his car registration and contacted the police again.
That led to the officer being identified and the matter being independently investigated by the IOPC, which took nine months to complete. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) authorised charges to be made against PC Head.
During the IOPC investigation, the taxi driver alleged that the officer punched him in the shoulder and face and accused him of drug misuse. PC Head was sentenced to a community order for 12 months and will be subject to a curfew from 9pm to 6am for three months. He was also ordered to pay £1,750 towards the cost of the trial and a victim surcharge of £85.
Speaking after the result, IOPC Regional Director Sal Naseem: “PC Head’s behaviour fell far short of what is expected of a police officer and he now has a criminal conviction to his name. Our thorough investigation found a case to answer for gross misconduct against the officer and we will now progress that with the force.”
The Met Police held a misconduct hearing on April 13 into the actions of former PC Head, who was attached to the Dog Support Unit. Former PC Head resigned prior to the hearing and ceased to be an officer as of April 9. He did not attend the proceedings but was represented by a Federation Representative.
The chair, Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball, considered all of the evidence and found former PC Head breached the standards of professional behaviour in relation to discreditable conduct at the level of gross misconduct. Had he remained a serving officer he would have been dismissed – he will now be placed on the College of Policing (CoP) Barred List.