Daily Mail

Police trainer ‘forcibly took out recruits’ earrings with bolt cutters’

- By Andy Dolan

A POLICE instructor used bolt cutters to clip earrings from three women trainees, a disciplina­ry hearing has been told.

PC Martin Briggs ordered the trainees to place their heads on a table top while he removed the jewellery, it was claimed – and one of them was left bleeding from an ear.

At one point he held up the cutters, opened and closed them and asked ‘Who’s next?’, it was alleged.

Briggs’ treatment of the young women amounted to gross misconduct, the hearing was told.

He was overseeing a ‘bleep test’ – a drill which involves running back and forth in a straight line, going increasing­ly faster – when he insisted all jewellery be removed by the 63 recruits.

Three officers – PC Georgia Hedditch, PC Elizabeth Christie and PC Holly Law – told him they were unable to remove their stud earrings. When PC Hedditch jokingly suggested ‘you’ll have to cut them out’, PC Briggs left the sports hall at Dorset Police HQ in Dorchester and returned with the pair of bolt cutters.

PC Hedditch told the hearing: ‘I didn’t think that it would actually be actioned.’

The hearing was told that PC Briggs had the three women file one by one into an office next to the hall, then told them to put their heads down on the jacket on a desk, before ‘forcibly’ cutting their earrings out.

The women were ‘distressed and embarrasse­d’ by their ordeal on April 17 last year, it is alleged, and PC Law was left bloodied.

They all said they complied because they thought that if they did not do the test they would damage their career prospects. PC Briggs admits making a ‘highly regrettabl­e error of judgment’ but denied behaving ‘discredita­bly’, saying the students consented to what happened. Colleague PC Samuel Davies who saw the episode but did not stop it, also denies gross misconduct.

Mark Ley-Morgan, a barrister representi­ng Dorset Police, said: ‘ PC Briggs’ behaviour was described as angry, abrupt, rude and impatient. He was swearing a lot.’ Mr Ley-Morgan said the women had ‘their earrings forcibly cut out. It is a serious incident which should never have happened and it is astonishin­g that it did.’

The hearing was told that although Briggs produced a pair of bolt cutters he may have used smaller ‘tin snips’. But the trainees insist bolt cutters were used.

Like PC Hedditch, PC Christie had been an officer for just three weeks when she had six earrings removed. She said: ‘When it was my turn to go in, Martin Briggs was… holding these really long bolt cutters and was opening and closing them. He said “who’s next?” I remember staring at them and thinking “s***, they are big”.’

The hearing continues.

‘Angry, abrupt and rude’

 ?? ?? Distress: PC Georgia Hedditch
Distress: PC Georgia Hedditch
 ?? ?? Fitness test: PC Martin Briggs
Fitness test: PC Martin Briggs

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