Published: 09:12, 11 April 2018
| Updated: 16:31, 12 April 2018
A Kent Police sergeant has been found guilty of assault after punching a man in a police cell.
PS Paul Coughlan, who is in his early 50s, pleaded not guilty to the charge but was convicted at Maidstone Magistrates Court following an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation.
He was handed a 120- hour community order to be served over 12 months.
Coughlan, from Westgate-on-Sea, had previously denied assault.
The incident was referred to the watchdog after a man, who was being held in custody at Canterbury police station on March 29 last year, complained he had been struck by PS Coughlan.
An investigation by the IOPC concluded that a tribunal could find PS Coughlan’s actions constituted gross misconduct. Kent Police agreed with this conclusion, and it resulted in the assault prosecution.
IOPC regional director Sarah Green said: “We entrust police officers with the power to use force in order to carry out their duties, but officers should only use force that is necessary, reasonable and proportionate. Our investigation concluded that the level of force PS Coughlan used was disproportionate in the circumstances.
“His victim was in a police cell and we concluded posed no risk to PS Coughlan or others at that time. We passed a file to the CPS and Kent Police who both agreed with our conclusion.
“PS Coughlan has been found guilty of committing assault by beating and has been sentenced. With the completion of criminal proceedings will now be working with Kent Police to schedule disciplinary proceedings.”