Cleared officer faces new inquiry

A POLICE officer could still face internal action despite being cleared of assaulting a burglar, it has emerged.

A POLICE officer could still face internal action despite being cleared of assaulting a burglar, it has emerged.

Sergeant Andrew Jervis, 41, of Suffolk police, was found not guilty at Norwich Crown Court yesterday of hitting a burglar and then trying to cover up the incident.

But last night Suffolk police said they were considering the prospect disciplining him through their own procedures, pending the findings of an internal investigation.

Srgt Jervis had clasped his hands together and said “Thanks” towards the jury as the not guilty verdicts were read out.

He had been accused of assaulting Ashley Whitwam at a holiday complex in Lowestoft in March last year.

He was also charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice.

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Prosecutors had alleged that Jervis struck Whitwam with his baton while the suspect was handcuffed and detained by three constables close to a lake at Gunton Hall.

It was also claimed that Jervis had attempted to hide his role in the incident by telling the officers to omit from their statements any mention of his involvement in the arrest.

The court was told that Whitwam had already been sentenced after he admitted stealing from slot machines at the complex.

After jurors cleared Jervis of the charges, Recorder Guy Ayers said the verdicts should not be seen as suggesting that the constables, who gave evidence in court, had lied about the incident.

“I hope that those three officers do not lose their career and their jobs on the back of this particular verdict,” he said.

Speaking following the acquittal of Sgt Jervis, Detective Chief Inspector Louisa Pepper, of Suffolk police, said: “We are committed to providing a quality policing service to the people of Suffolk. We expect our employees to maintain the highest standards of discipline and integrity at all times and the public has a right to expect that our officers and staff will adhere to these standards.

“Suffolk Constabulary takes complaints and instances of misconduct extremely seriously; any allegation will be investigated thoroughly and swiftly.

“As internal disciplinary proceedings are being considered at this stage, no further comment can be made.”