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PC Dan Hargan was subject to an eight-year investigation which left him broken and suicidal.
In 2011, he was deployed to prevent violence between rival football fans. He assisted colleagues in breaking up a fight between two men. One of them was brought to the ground and suffered a minor eye socket fracture. Nine months later, he lodged a complaint, alleging he had been repeatedly kicked in the face.
PC Hargan strenuously denied this and was cleared by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). However the IOPC changed its mind when the man’s solicitors threatened a judicial review. PC Hargan was charged after all and appeared at Crown Court in July 2017. During the two-week trial the complainant changed his story, got flustered and eventually admitted to making up some of the details. PC Hargan was found not guilty but the IOPC forced him to face a disciplinary board for gross misconduct. PC Hargan was again cleared, in June 2019.
The long-running ordeal took a terrible personal toll. PC Hargan suffered so badly with anxiety that he ended up having heart surgery and counselling. He was removed from operational duties and suffered financial hardship from being unable to do overtime. His ambitions to become a close protection officer stalled.
The press were outside his home and his daughter became terrified that her dad would come to harm if jailed. PC Hargan’s friends were warned not to contact him and at his lowest point he stood on a platform intending to step into the path of an oncoming train.
He said: "I didn’t want my kids to see me in prison. I very nearly ended my life but at the last moment I was distracted by a child in distress. I went to help and the train passed by."
PC Hargan feels he has been robbed of eight years and is not the person he was. "If it had a been a month or even a year I could have coped, but it has been hell. Even a criminal would not have been treated like this."