Merseyside Police officer dismissed over use of force used during arrest

Published: 13 Sep 2023
Warning: this article contains offensive language

A Merseyside Police officer has been dismissed without notice for using excessive force on a woman during an arrest in Liverpool following an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

We looked into an allegation that PC Robert Marshall used excessive force against the woman who was believed to be the victim of a domestic assault and determined he had a case to answer for gross misconduct. 

An independently-chaired panel found the case against PC Marshall was proven for breaches of the police standards of professional behaviour regarding use of force, respect, and courtesy and conduct.

Following a referral from the force in August 2022, we independently investigated how the officer responded to reports of a domestic assault at a hotel in Liverpool City Centre on 26 July 2022.

During our four-month investigation, we reviewed extensive body-worn video footage obtained from the incident, in addition to 999 calls, disciplinary records and local and national force policies. We also obtained accounts from the officers present. 

On conclusion of the investigation in November 2022, we found PC Marshall had a case to answer for gross misconduct. We referred the case to the Crown Prosecution Service which decided not to authorise any criminal charges. 

Evidence gathered by IOPC investigators showed PC Marshall used an angry and confrontational tone of voice before taking hold of the victim by her throat, pushing her against the wall and pinning her there momentarily after she had removed the officer’s tie. 

Body-worn footage from another officer captured PC Marshall telling the woman: “Don’t f…. grab me, love, or I’ll break your f….. neck.” 

The video also showed that after the woman became resistant to being handcuffed, PC Marshall reapplied his forearm to the woman’s throat and pinned her against the wall for a second time. She then fell to the floor in an apparent momentary loss of consciousness. 

IOPC Regional Director Catherine Bates said: “Police officers should only use the minimum amount of force required in any given situation they face. It is for an officer to explain why the force they used was necessary, reasonable and proportionate in the circumstances.      

“Self-control and tolerance are essential, particularly when responding to incidents when a member of the public is likely to be in a state of distress, but PC Marshall did not justify the way he spoke to the woman or the level of the force he used.

“Our investigation has ensured PC Marshall was held accountable for his actions and an independently-chaired panel determined he should be dismissed without notice. He will also be added to the police barred list, preventing him from future employment with the service.”

  • Merseyside Police
  • Use of force and armed policing