Essex officer not guilty of Westcliff-on-Sea assault
An Essex Police officer has been found not guilty of assaulting a man in Westcliff-on-Sea, following an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation.
Police Constable Christopher Wentworth, 40, had been charged with assault by beating by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and was cleared following a two-day trial, which concluded at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 17 March 2022.
Our seven-month investigation followed a mandatory referral from Essex Police after a complaint was made against PC Wentworth.
The incident happened when the officer and colleagues responded to reports of a road traffic collision in Grosvenor Road, Westcliff, at around 5.40pm on 20 March, 2021.
A driver was arrested on suspicion of drink-driving and the court heard that after he was taken to the floor PC Wentworth allegedly placed his knee on his head. PC Wentworth claimed that in reaction to being bitten by the suspect he punched him in the head.
A member of the public filmed the incident, which was then shared on social media. The driver later made a complaint about the force used during his arrest.
During our investigation, which ended in September 2021, investigators interviewed the officer, the complainant, and reviewed statements obtained by the police. Investigators also reviewed body worn footage, CCTV, and mobile phone footage.
At the end of our investigation, we referred a file to the CPS which authorised the charge of assault by beating.