Commissioner says police will continue to learn lessons from Dalian Atkinson case

The county's police force will "continue to learn lessons" from the killing of Dalian Atkinson, the region's police and crime commissioner has said.

PC Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith at a previous court hearing
PC Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith at a previous court hearing

The comments come after PC Ellie Bettley-Smith was last week given a final written warning having being found to have used excessive force when she repeatedly struck the former Aston Villa star with a baton after he was tasered in Telford more than six years ago.

Despite being found guilty of gross misconduct PC Bettley-Smith was not dismissed.

Speaking after the announcement of the sanction, Mr Atkinson's family said the decision to allow her to remain working as a police officer brought the force into disrepute.

Dalian Atkinson died after being tasered and kicked by PC Benjamin Monk

In a statement they said: "As a probationary officer, having demonstrated such violence and poor judgement, it is very concerning that she was not dismissed immediately this afternoon and that she will be put back on the streets as a serving police officer. This brings the police service into deeper disrepute.”

PC Bettley-Smith was acquitted of assaulting Mr Atkinson, in a crown court trial last year. That came after a different jury had previously been unable to reach a verdict.

Her colleague, Benjamin Monk was jailed for eight years after being found guilty of manslaughter.

Speaking following the conclusion of PC Bettley-Smith's disciplinary hearing, West Mercia's Police and Crime Commissioner, John Campion said: "Throughout this process, my thoughts continue to be with Dalian Atkinson’s family and friends.

"The public of West Mercia and I, as their Police and Crime Commissioner, expect the very highest standards of behaviour from West Mercia Police officers. The process, which was independently led, has found the officer guilty of gross misconduct due to her use of force.

"I want to reassure the public that I will ensure West Mercia Police continues to learn the lessons from this incident and other incidents.

"I am committed to playing my part in supporting the force with the resources they need to deliver the best possible training for officers, ensuring the voice of the public is loudly heard in the way we are policed."

Speaking after the tribunal verdict was confirmed, West Mercia Deputy Chief Constable Alex Murray again offered their condolences to Mr Atkinson's family.

He said: “While today sees the end of formal proceedings we continue to extend our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Dalian Atkinson and everyone affected by his death. We know there is no end to the grief they have to live with, and our thoughts are with them.

“In June 2021 former police officer Ben Monk was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to eight years imprisonment in connection to Dalian’s death.

“A disciplinary hearing has today found that a second officer’s actions on the night Dalian died constituted gross misconduct and as a result she has been issued with a final written warning.

“The Gross Misconduct Hearing into the level of force used by PC Bettley-Smith was chaired by an independent legally qualified chair, with the panel consisting of representatives from outside the force. The proceedings lasted five days – having opened on Monday and were held in public, with members of the press present.

“At the hearing this week, the facts of the case were presented, and PC Bettley-Smith was given the opportunity to explain her actions. This follows the national procedure.

“On the night Dalian died, police were called to protect him, his family and the public but that did not happen. As a result, PC Ben Monk is in prison.

“Ellie Bettley-Smith, who was a student officer at the time, was acquitted at court of criminal wrongdoing.”

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