Behaviour of officer while on hospital ward 'unacceptable'

Published Date: 01.07.2014

A police officer accused of being rude and aggressive to nurses on a hospital ward has been disciplined following an independent investigation by the Police Ombudsman’s Office.

The Office began the investigation after receiving two complaints about the officer, who it was alleged behaved in an oppressive and overbearing manner while attending the hospital with a prisoner who needed medical attention. The complainants stated that the officer became angry at what he thought was a long delay in waiting for the prisoner to be seen by staff.

When he confronted a nurse he allegedly aggressively put his face close to hers and demanded to know how long they needed to wait. When it was explained to him that the ward was very busy, that the patient was not a clinical priority and that there were no doctors available, according to the complainants’ the officer continued to be confrontational.

When another member of the nursing staff spoke to the officer and asked him not to be rude to her colleagues, it is alleged he became aggressive and stated that the nurses “had got themselves into serious trouble.”

The officer gave a different account of what happened. He stated that after about one hour waiting in a cubicle on the ward with a prisoner who had self-harmed, the prisoner started causing a disturbance. When a nurse came to see what the problem was he said he asked her politely if it would be possible for the prisoner to be seen.

He denied being abusive or confrontational. He said that he accepted the explanation as to why the prisoner could not be seen quickly, and did not expect to receive any special treatment. He also denied being threatening or overbearing with the second member of staff, and stated that instead he felt that she had behaved unprofessionally by confronting him in front of others.

Ombudsman investigators viewed the CCTV footage from the hospital, but it contained nothing of evidential value. However, investigators spoke to three witnesses to the incident and their evidence supported the complainants’ accounts.

All three described the officer as being rude, overbearing and threatening.

“Our investigation concluded that the officer’s actions during this incident were unacceptable,” said a Police Ombudsman spokesman. “This is particularly given that the misconduct took place in a hospital, where staff are entitled to expect the highest standards of behaviour from police who regularly attend with members of the public seeking medical care”.

The officer concerned has been given an appropriate disciplinary sanction.

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