A court case involving an "old-fashioned bobby" fined 100 pounds ($150) for giving a troublesome teenager a quick cuff across the face raised questions in Britain Tuesday over the wave of so-called political correctness sweeping the country.
Politicians, the media and the family of the youth the policeman was found guilty of assaulting have joined in to add their thoughts to what was deemed by many to be an old-fashioned example of instant justice."It's unthinkable that a police officer's career should be ruined for doing what the vast majority of sensible people would have done," Conservative politician Teddy Taylor told reporters. "Years ago a cuff around the ear would have been enough to nip trouble in the bud. Youngsters wouldn't have even dared tell their parents for fear of further reprimand. Now they run home shouthing about their rights and the parents start screaming."
Police Constable Steven Guscott faces a disciplinary hearing and could lose his job after 20 years with the force after admitting a charge of common assault.
On top of the fine imposed Monday by magistrates in Somerset, southwest England, the community officer and volunteer life-boatman was also ordered to pay the youngster 50 pounds ($75) compensation. The youth cannot be named for legal reasons.
The charge relates to an incident in the seaside town of Minehead three months ago when the 42-year-old officer was called to deal with a group of teenagers tormenting an elderly couple by repeatedly ringing their doorbell and running away.
Prosecutor Christopher Ansell told the court that each time Guscott approached the youths they yelled abuse at him. Eventually, he cornered one of the teenagers and slapped him across the face.
The youth, suffering a bloody nose, was then returned home.
"This was something done very much in frustration at the situation," defense counsel Ian Wilson told the court.
Bundles of letters supporting Guscott, a father of two, were read out at the hearing.