Oliver Banfield: West Midlands Police officer convicted of assaulting woman resigns from force
Written by Hitmix News on 24 March 2021
A police officer who was convicted of drunkenly assaulting a woman while she walked home alone has resigned from his job.
PC Oliver Banfield, 25, admitted grabbing Emma Homer, 37, and dragging her to the ground in Bidford-on-Avon in Warwickshire on 26 July last year.
He was sentenced to a 14-week curfew last Friday and ordered to pay £500 compensation, a victim surcharge and court costs – but avoided jail.
Banfield was suspended by West Midlands Police pending a gross misconduct hearing, but on Tuesday decided to hand in his resignation to the force.
Deputy Chief Constable Vanessa Jardine said in a statement: “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.”
She added that she “recognises the distress Emma Homer has suffered”, they have informed her of the resignation and “will continue to keep her updated”.
Banfield’s sentence has caused outrage in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard earlier this month.
Met Police officer Wayne Couzens has been charged with her kidnap and murder after she disappeared on a walk home in south London.
Labour MP Harriet Harman claimed Banfield’s sentence was proof the “system fails women”.
She tweeted: “Policeman attacks woman walking home alone after dark. Must have been terrifying for her but no prison sentence. He continues in post. @WMPolice (West Midlands Police) must review.
“This is proof, if any needed, that system fails women and protects men.”
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The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided not to charge Banfield at first, but changed its mind after the Women’s Justice Centre intervened.
CCTV played in court showed him grabbing his victim around the neck and trying to pull her to the ground.
In a victim impact statement, Mrs Homer said it had taken “more than 30 hours for an officer to take a telephone statement”, “nine days for an officer to come and see her”, and “eight weeks for an officer to conduct house-to-house enquiries”.
The investigating force has since personally apologised and said its “initial response to the report of the assault was not as swift as it should have been”.
Mrs Homer said she suffered “anxiety, insomnia and stress”, which had been “compounded by the slow response from Warwickshire Police”.
“I often ask myself if the impact of the attack would have been so severe if my assailant was not a police officer,” she said.
“During the assault as I struggled to get to safety, I was sure this drunk man was fulfilling a violent cop movie fantasy.
“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 that he was a police officer shook my belief system to its core.”