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Police officer who 'repeatedly punched' shoplifter faces no action

PUBLISHED: 16:11 21 March 2019 | UPDATED: 10:03 22 March 2019

A screenshot from the video showing the arrests in the Nelson pub, Norwich (Photo: Facebook/Paul Bruce)

A screenshot from the video showing the arrests in the Nelson pub, Norwich (Photo: Facebook/Paul Bruce)

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A police officer who "repeatedly punched" a woman who was holding her young daughter will face no disciplinary action.

CCTV footage of the officer appearing to hit Pearl Lee several times in a Norwich pub was uploaded to Facebook last year and viewed hundreds of thousands of times.

The case was referred to Norfolk Police’s Professional Standards Department which decided the officer acted “in good faith”.

Pearl Lee, 34, along with sister Wanda, 38, and mother Emily Smith, 57, were chased to the Nelson pub on March 27 last year accused of shoplifting from Asda in Hellesdon.

Appearing at Norwich Magistrates Court on Wednesday, Emily Smith and Pearl Lee were found guilty of shoplifting for stealing £427 of groceries.

A screenshot from the video showing the arrests in the Nelson pub, Norwich (Photo: Facebook/Paul Bruce)A screenshot from the video showing the arrests in the Nelson pub, Norwich (Photo: Facebook/Paul Bruce)

But Pearl Lee told the BBC after the trial that she was considering action against the police for brutality.

She also said her child had been badly affected by the incident.

Prosecutor Mark Jackson said the four officers handled the women, from the Swanton Road Travellers’ site, “very robustly”, while PC Peter Forbes-Scott said he had been subject to a “tirade of abuse”.

He said his actions were “entirely in keeping with situation”.

The Nelson pub on Nelson Street in Norwich. Photo: Google MapsThe Nelson pub on Nelson Street in Norwich. Photo: Google Maps

“She was shouting and screaming and trying to pull away,” he added.

In the video Pearl Lee also lashes back at the officer.

A Norfolk Police spokesman said: “This was a difficult situation in which a child was present. However, the child was not harmed in any way.

“The matter was investigated by the force’s Professional Standards Department at the time and having considered all the information, it was deemed officers acted in good faith.

“As with all situations, hindsight provides us an opportunity to review the circumstances and while no conduct issues were identified, we will ensure appropriate lessons are learned from this incident.”

Wanda Lee pleaded guilty to shoplifting as well as common assault. She denied obstructing an officer but was convicted of that too.

She was fined £375 and given a six-month conditional discharge.

Pearl Lee and Emily Smith were fined £375.

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