A male off-duty police officer convicted of attacking a woman as she walked home alone has resigned from West Midlands police.
PC Oliver Banfield was spared jail for the assault, which sparked criticism from the Labour MP Harriet Harman, who said the “system fails women and protects men”.
The 25-year-old, who had been suspended by the force, will still face a misconduct hearing in due course, police said.
He was a probationary officer when he grabbed Emma Homer, 36, as she walked home at around 1am on 26 July last year and tried to tackle her to the ground.
The court heard that he had been on a night out and was “drunk” at the time of the attack, and used techniques taught during police training to grab her by the neck and try to pull her to the ground as she screamed.
Homer managed to flee from the scene in Bidford-on-Avon, Warwickshire, as Banfield called her a “fucking slag”, the Mirror reported.
The former officer admitted a charge of assault by beating and was sentenced at Leicester magistrates court on Friday to a 14-week curfew, banning him from leaving his house between 7pm and 7am. He was also ordered to pay Homer £500 compensation and court costs totalling £180.
Banfield’s lawyer had argued against a sentence of community service, saying it would be difficult for him to work alongside criminals.
He was suspended from his post with West Midlands police and will still face allegations of gross misconduct now he has resigned.
Responding to the sentence on Friday, Harman said: “[It] must have been terrifying for her but no prison sentence. This is proof, if any needed, that [the] system fails women and protects men.”
Homer said she had suffered from anxiety, stress, panic attacks and insomnia, and was undergoing counselling following the assault. She said she felt Banfield had been “fulfilling a violent cop movie fantasy” and that her children were now wary and anxious around police.
She said: “I often ask myself if the impact of the attack would have been so severe if my assailant was not a police officer. To be verbally abused with misogynistic slang, grabbed by the neck and forced to the floor on a dark road by a drunk man a foot taller than me, is terrifying. But to then find out he was a police officer shook my belief system to its core.
“The effect on my children when they found out my assailant was a police officer was incredibly sad. It’s unfathomable to them that a person whose job is to serve and protect would attack and hurt their family.”
The deputy chief constable of West Midlands police, Vanessa Jardine, said: “Today I have accepted the resignation of PC Oliver Banfield. I want to stress that former PC Banfield will still face an accelerated misconduct hearing, chaired by the chief constable, in the near future.”
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