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System failed Warwickshire women who was attacked by police officer, says Harriet Harman MP

Labour MP Harriet Harman believes the system has failed after an off-duty police officer, who drunkenly assaulted a woman in Bidford, was spared jail.

Harriet Harman Picture: PA Media (45355268)
Harriet Harman Picture: PA Media (45355268)

Pc Oliver Banfield, who serves with West Midlands Police, admitted a charge of assault by beating on Emma Homer at an earlier hearing in January, and on Friday he was handed a curfew and ordered to pay compensation and costs at Leicester Magistrates’ Court.

Reacting to the sentence, Ms Harman said on Twitter: “Policeman attacks woman walking home alone after dark. Must have been terrifying for her but no prison sentence.

“He continues in post. @WMPolice (West Midlands Police) must review. This is proof, if any needed, that system fails women and protects men.”

Banfield, 25, was given a 14-week curfew banning him from leaving his house between 7pm and 7am, and must pay £500 compensation together with a £95 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.

West Midlands Police said Banfield was “removed from public-facing duties after the assault” while a criminal investigation into the incident in Bidford was carried out by Warwickshire Police.

His employer force said that following the end of the criminal investigation, Banfield was immediately suspended pending the outcome of a disciplinary process into an allegation of gross misconduct against the officer.

West Midlands police and crime commissioner David Jamieson said it was “right that Oliver Banfield is now facing a gross misconduct investigation and has been suspended”.

He has asked the force’s chief constable, Sir David Thompson, to brief him “on the steps taken by West Midlands Police”.

Meanwhile, the 37-year-old victim, Emma Homer, hit out at Warwickshire Police’s initial handling of her complaint after she was attacked by a “drunk” Banfield while walking home at about 1am on 26th July, 2020.

She said that despite reporting the assault within hours of it happening, it took “more than 30 hours for an officer to take a telephone statement”, “nine days for an officer to come and see her” and “eight weeks for an officer to conduct house-to-house enquiries”.

The force has since apologised to Mrs Homer stating its “initial response to the report of the assault was not as swift as it should have been”.

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