AN Avon and Somerset Police sergeant 'jumped before he was pushed', a misconduct hearing concluded today (Thursday).

Sgt Gareth Starr was found to have failed to fulfil the responsibilities and duties expected of a custody sergeant while on duty at Bridgwater Police Station.

The hearing was told that his failings included not ensuring the safety and wellbeing of a detained person and making derogatory comments towards him.

The hearing concluded that Starr would have been dismissed had he not resigned.

Starr will now be barred from serving as a police officer ever again following the incident on February 17 2019.

Superintendent Simon Wilstead, the force's head of professional standards, said: “We expect the highest level of professionalism and care from all our staff and the safety of detainees in our care is of paramount importance.

“There is no room in policing for officers who abuse their position, or who take advantage of vulnerable people, who rightly look to us to protect them.

“Although regulations allow an officer to resign while under investigation for gross misconduct, the misconduct process will still continue.

"The former officer will now be placed on the National College of Policing’s Barred List preventing him from working within policing and other law enforcement bodies.”

Starr was accused of nine acts of misconduct at the hearing:

  • making a derogatory comment to the detained person during the booking in process;
  • failing to visit and rouse the detained man every 30 minutes or having the prisoner assessed to determine whether he was rousable;
  • not organising clinical treatment for the man;
  • after the detained person stripped off, urinated on the floor, defecated on the cell door and stood in the waste, failed to remove him or seek advise on what action to take;
  • watching CCTV of the man slipping and falling several times, laughing at him and calling him derogatory names;
  • failing to challenge junior officer and other staff for also laughing at the detained person and making disparaging comments;
  • instructing the detention officer not to go to the cell after the detained man fell, hit his head and remained motionless for around ten seconds;
  • failing to inform a doctor that the man had hit his head and "actively discouraging" the doctor from attending the man;
  • during his handover to another sergeant, failing to inform that officer that the detained person had fallen and hit his head.