Pava spray 'banter' PC guilty of misconduct

Pepper spray Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption A police officer was found guilty of misconduct for firing the spray at another officer

A constable who shot Pava spray in another officer's face as "banter" has been found guilty of misconduct.

PC Greg Taylor said he accidentally shot the officer in the forehead with the spray for speaking during a police briefing he was leading in Northampton.

A panel at a police disciplinary hearing found him guilty of misconduct but cleared him of gross misconduct.

He was given a final written warning which will remain on his file for 18 months.

'Element of bravado'

Prosecuting solicitor David Ring told the panel there had been a stand-off between PC Taylor, who had been acting as a sergeant, and another officer in the team.

Mr Ring said: "He (PC Taylor) said if he did not stop talking he would spray him."

He said the second officer, who cannot be named, challenged PC Taylor at Campbell Square police station in Northampton on 22 June.

"In an element of bravado, he dared him to spray him and he took off his glasses to give him a clear shot," Mr Ring said.

"PC Taylor removed the cap and depressed the plunger in short bursts. It hit him in the forehead.

"Everyone in the room thought it was extremely funny."

PC Taylor, 37, told the hearing that he had not intended to fire the spray, which is used to incapacitate suspects, and that he had been stupid.

He said: "I hate to use the word banter but there is a culture of wit and mockery."

Assistant Chief Constable Rachel Swann, who chaired the panel, found him guilty of misconduct.

She said he had been "irresponsible and foolish" but had not breached standards of honesty.

The panel said his actions "fell well below" that expected of a police officer.

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