Pc keeps job despite her gross misconduct over baton strikes on ex-footballer

A police constable has kept her job despite being found guilty by a disciplinary panel of gross misconduct for using excessive force when she repeatedly hit an ex-footballer with her baton after he was Tasered to the ground.

An independent tribunal found on Friday that Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith, a West Mercia Police officer, acted wrongly when she struck Dalian Atkinson three times with her police-issue baton during an incident in the early hours of August 15 2016, after which the ex-sportsman died.

The panel could have sacked Bettley-Smith, a University of Hull graduate originally from Staffordshire, without notice but instead handed her a final written warning.

The move came after the barrister who presented the case against her, Dijen Basu KC, said West Mercia’s Police’s Deputy Chief Constable had instructed that the panel be asked to consider the lesser sanction, as well as dismissal without notice.

Former Aston Villa striker Mr Atkinson died after being kicked at least twice in the head by Ms Bettley-Smith’s more experienced colleague, Pc Benjamin Monk, outside the victim’s father’s home in Telford, Shropshire, six-and-a-half years ago.