Wiltshire assault officer on full pay pending hearing

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Media captionSgt Mark Andrews dragged Pamela Somerville across the floor of the police station. CCTV provided by Wiltshire Police

A policeman who was jailed for assault after being caught on CCTV throwing a 57-year-old woman into a cell is back on full pay, it has emerged.

Sgt Mark Andrews, 37, was filmed dragging Pamela Somerville through Melksham police station in Wiltshire.

He was jailed for six months, but freed on bail on Monday pending an appeal.

Papers released ahead of a Wiltshire Police Authority meeting reveal he is "on full pay while suspended, pending the outcome of a conduct hearing".

The documents said this was "in line with police conduct regulations".

Andrews spent six days in prison following sentencing on 7 September.

In meeting notes to the police authority, Chief Constable Brian Moore said: "For this period Wiltshire Police have invoked Home Office Circular 8/07, which allows for the force to withdraw his salary on the grounds he was serving a custodial sentence further to conviction.

"Further to his successful bail application on 13 September 2010, the required conditions in relation to this provision were removed and Sgt Andrews returned to the status of being suspended on full pay."

Ms Somerville, now 59, needed stitches to a gash above her eye following the attack in July 2008.

She had been detained for failing to provide a sample for a breath test after being found asleep in her car, but denied any wrongdoing.

The charges were later dropped due to insufficient evidence.

Andrews was found guilty of causing actual bodily harm on 13 July after a trial at Oxford Magistrates' Court.

Image caption Andrews has been granted unconditional bail

Passing sentence, Deputy District Judge Peter Greenfield said Andrews had abused his position of trust and only a custodial sentence was appropriate.

Assistant chief constable Patrick Geenty described it as "a disgraceful incident which breached the standards of care which every police officer gives to the public."

He added: "There is no place in Wiltshire Police for an officer like this. I fully support the comments of the judge and the sentence that he has handed down."

The Police Federation said it fully supported the force's decision to resume paying Andrews during his period of suspension, which was a practice in line with many other professions.

Wiltshire branch chairman Cath Hollands said: "PS Andrews is a serving Wiltshire police officer who was suspended from duty following his initial conviction at court.

"He would not have been paid for the time he spent in prison. Once released on bail pending an appeal, PS Andrews continued to be suspended from duty and therefore is eligible to receive pay until any court processes are finalised and an internal misconduct hearing has been held."

An appeal hearing is listed to begin at the same court on 15 November.

The police conduct hearing is also scheduled to take place in November.

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