West Midlands Police officer convicted of assaulting woman spared jail

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Emma Homer from Warwickshire says she has been turned into a "nervous wreck" after she attacked by an off-duty West Midlands Police officer.

PC Oliver Banfield, from Bidford-on-Avon in Warwickshire, was drunk when he grabbed her, tackled her to the ground and put her in a headlock, before shouting abuse in July last year.

Banfield was sentenced to a 14-week curfew, which bans him from leaving his house between 7pm and 7am, and ordered to pay compensation and costs, after admitting a charge of assault by beating.

The sentence has provoked reaction from woman across the country, in the light of nationwide discussions about female safety, following the death of Sarah Everard.

Emma describes the sentence as "a joke" and said the assault left her with "anxiety, insomnia and stress" which had been "compounded by the slow response from Warwickshire Police".

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

She said since the attack she has lived with constant anxiety, changed her route home, and asked her family not to discuss the case as it sends her into a panic attack.

West Midlands Police said that Oliver Banfield was removed from public-facing duties after the assault and while the investigation by Warwickshire Police was being carried out.

They say,

They say they do understand the strength of feeling surrounding the death of Sarah Everard, but say it would not be appropriate for them to comment further at this stage.

“Our role is to protect the public, who should be able to trust us. We therefore hold all our officers to the highest standards and we will take appropriate action against anyone whose actions fall below what is expected."

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".