Banbury prisoner escaped while police officers 'watched TV and used their phones'

The incident took place while the police officers and the prisoner were waiting at the Horton General Hospital

Two Thames Valley Police officers 'watched TV and used their phones' while a prisoner escaped, a misconduct hearing has been told.PC Lydia Jackson and PC Robert Lawton had been told the prisoner was high risk for self harm or escape when he was in their care.The prisoner, identified only as Mr A, was arrested on suspicion of possession of a Class A drug with intention to supply on April 14 last year.

In the misconduct hearing report, it says: "He stated that he had sustained injuries to his hands, wrists, knees, head, ankles, shoulders and face from being detained and handcuffed.

Thames Valley Police headquarters in Kidlington

"He also stated that he thought he had a broken finger.

"During the evening of the 14 April 2021, the officers were allocated the task of escorting Mr A from the custody suite at Banbury Police Station to the Horton General Hospital."The two PCs took Mr A to the hospital for treatment, arriving shortly before midnight.

The prisoner was made to sit on a row of seats behind the officers.

According to the report, the officers were also told Mr A had attempted to evade capture and he should be ‘watched like a hawk.’However, the hearing was told that PC Jackson and PC Lawton sat in front of Mr A and did not monitor him. "Instead, the officers; watched television, talked amongst themselves, and used their mobile phones".

The report added, "This was not a momentary lapse of concentration."

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At 1.38am, after sitting with no supervision for seven minutes and 31 seconds, Mr A stood up and absconded.Both officers have been found guilty of gross misconduct and given a final written warning.

PC Lawton was also offered the chance to use "reflective practice to consider his interaction with others", after the hearing was told that while on a training day on June 30, 2021, he used a swear word to describe a colleague, as well as referring to another colleague's partner as "a dog".