Case study: Derbyshire - attacker let off with a caution

PC Dan Gahagan was furious after a drunk who assaulted him was allowed to walk free with a police caution.

The Derbyshire officer and his partner were called to an incident in January 2018, where a man was ‘staggering around in the street’. They were concerned he would get into a fight with other night time revellers and they decided to drive him home for his own safety. When they got there he refused to get out of the police van.

PC Gahagan said: “He was saying things like we weren’t listening to him. He then got out of the van and without warning swung a punch at my colleague. It missed, but he hit me in my chest and jaw. He grabbed my Taser in the scuffle – thankfully I was able to snatch it back.”

Finally, as Captor spray started to take effect, the officers were able to cuff the man. However, to his distress the man received only a caution.

PC Gahagan felt this sent a poor message to the public, that someone can punch a police officer and escape charges. He continued: “In my opinion if someone assaults a police officer they should be held to account – and particularly in this case where we doing our jobs and trying to help."

During four years in policing, PC Gahagan has been punched, bitten, kicked and spat at. He remains positive about the job but increasingly frustrated when he sees criminals receiving getting off lightly – “it makes you question why you put all the work in,” he says.

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