Herts officer sacked for use of force on bike shed burglary suspect 

Published: 25 Nov 2022

A Hertfordshire Constabulary officer has been dismissed without notice for using excessive force on a man during an arrest in Watford, following our investigation.

Gross misconduct was found proven against Police Constable (PC) Stephen Dalton on Tuesday 22 November at the end of a disciplinary hearing organised by the force.

The hearing was told PC Dalton arrested a man in Wilmington Close on 4 October 2019, following reports of attempted bike shed break-ins.

The man was pushed against a parked police car, his face struck the vehicle and he was taken to the ground. He was treated in hospital where he was later released without charge.

An independently chaired disciplinary panel found the officer was in breach of the police professional standards of behaviour relating to use of force for striking the man’s face against the vehicle; authority, respect and courtesy for saying “it hurts doesn’t it?” when he knew the man was injured; and conduct, for bringing discredit on the police service.

IOPC Regional Director Graham Beesley said: "PC Dalton did not demonstrate self-control or professionalism and allowed the incident to escalate.

"Our investigation found the officer had a case to answer for gross misconduct and today a disciplinary panel has concluded the amount of force used was unnecessary and the officer has now lost his job.

"His conduct fell far below the standards expected and clearly had the potential to damage public confidence in the police."

Our four-month investigation began after we received a referral from the force in October 2019, and the man who was arrested during the incident also subsequently made a complaint.

On conclusion of our inquiries, we passed a file to the Crown Prosecution Service, which authorised a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm. On 5 November 2021, PC Dalton was acquitted by a jury following a trial at St Albans Crown Court.

During our investigation we gathered and reviewed CCTV footage, police body worn video and took statements from police witnesses.

PC Dalton will now be placed on the barred list, meaning he will be unable to work in policing again.

  • Hertfordshire Constabulary
  • Use of force and armed policing